Frustration and anger may be at the forefront, but New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey to the bullpen may be a blessing in serious disguise.
When Matt Harvey opened up the 2018 season with five scoreless innings of one-hit baseball against the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets fans all over had high hopes for the Dark Knight. However, since that home opener, Harvey has transformed from the Dark Knight into the Joker in a matter of weeks.
The biggest struggle that Harvey is facing is his velocity. Harvey’s fastball in 2018 is barely sitting at 93 mph. In previous years, Harvey was able to urge his heater up too 97 mph and was able to use that as his out pitch. With his fastball velo down, he needs to rely on being a pitcher more than a thrower. However, the fastball is not the only pitch in his repertoire that is decreasing in velocity. Harvey’s changeup, slider and curveball have all dipped on the radar gun and it has been showing in his latest outings.
With Harvey struggling to the extent that he is, manager Mickey Callaway has made an executive decision of moving Matt Harvey to the bullpen.
As predicted, Matt Harvey is not happy with the decision from his skipper. But can you blame Callaway in this situation?
Let’s take a look at the numbers
In Harvey’s previous three starts, he threw a total of 16 innings, giving up 25 hits (four of those being home runs) while allowing 16 earned runs. A starting pitcher’s job is to put the team in a position to win the baseball game. Harvey has failed to do so in those three starts as he has put a lot of pressure on his bullpen to keep the game close. And in two of his starts, the Mets have come out with the loss.
Callaway has made the right decision in moving Harvey to the bullpen. A manager in the MLB must place the best team out there, day in and day out with a keen eye on the bigger, 162-game picture. Harvey, right now, is not producing as a starting pitcher, so why keep him in the rotation?
However, maybe Harvey moving to the bullpen is a blessing in disguise for the former MLB All-Star.
After three straight tough outings, the man is lacking confidence. With Harvey pitching the way he is, you cant trust him in late-inning situations with the game on the line. To get his confidence back, send him out there during garbage innings. Either when the Mets are getting blown out or are blowing out their opposing team.
This will be a good spot for Harvey to pitch in because they are non-pressure situations. It gives him a chance to gain his confidence back, work on his pitches, and see himself getting quality outs which is what he needs in order to get back into shape.
This is not the first time Callaway has sent starting pitchers to the bullpen. When Callaway was in Cleveland, both Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer got innings out of relief which than led to positive outings as a starter. With the process working for the both of them, Callaway is more than confident innings out of the bullpen will work for Harvey as well.
Hopefully, Harvey gets a sense of motivation through his skipper’s decision. Harvey is a true competitor and has shown glimpses of the former Dark Knight this year. His future is still in his own hands and it’s up to him if he will soon land back in the New York Mets starting rotation.