Final Score: Braves 3, Mets 0
Before we dive into the awful 2016 version of Matt Harvey that we’ve been seeing every fifth day, let’s acknowledge the reason we lost tonight. The Mets didn’t score a damn run. The Mets got one hit. They actually had a bunch of hard hit balls, but they were all launched directly at perfectly positioned Braves in the field.
Wisler’s A Good Mother: The Mets didn’t leave a bunch of men on base tonight. The Mets didn’t waste a bunch of opportunities. The Mets got straight up shut down by Matt Wisler. Sure Michael Conforto, David Wright, Yoenis Cespedes, and Asdrubal Cabrera rocked a bunch of balls. But they all found gloves and sometimes that’s going to happen. Credit must go to Wisler on his performance tonight.
Harvey and The Chocolate Factory: Speaking of this 2016 Matt Harvey impersonator, Harvey kind of looks like a young Gene Wilder. I never would have thought a month into the season that I’d be more jealous of Willy Wonka’s lifestyle than Matt Harvey’s. But at this point, the thought of being a Chocolate magnate living in an enormous magic factory seems more appealing than being a struggling pitcher living in the East Village. Harvey should consider reaching out to Wonka to see if he can whip up some chocolate based chewing tobacco replacement because his current dip routine isn’t working.
Harvey Mediocre Again: Matt Harvey gave up a single and a double to start the second inning. But the stinky Braves helped him get out of trouble when Matt Wisler hit a ball to David Wright who got the runner at third out in a pickle. Then Harvey got a groundout from Mallex Smith to end the inning.
The damage against him was done in the 5th and 6th inning. In the 5th, Harvey gave up an opposite field solo blast to Mallex Smith. In the 6th inning, he officially fell apart. Kelly Johnson singled and then stole second base on Harvey. Then A.J. Pierzynski doubled to drive him in. Pierzynski tagged up on a fly out by Reid Brignac, and then Harvey let him score on a wild pitch. That made it 3-0. After another walk and single Harvey got yanked.
Harvey’s Bad April: This April, Matt Harvey consistently tired in the 5th or 6th inning.
Timothy Finnegan at Amazin Avenue wrote a post about how Harvey’s slider velocity is down, the spin rate has diminished, he’s not locating it as effectively, and it’s being hit harder. His velocity in general has clearly been down all month. We can all see these things every time he takes the mound. The question is why is he having these problems?
Harvey’s Lying: Harvey says he’s completely fine. He says his struggles have nothing to do with a postseason hangover or injury. He said a few weeks ago that his struggles were due to mechanical issues that he fixed with Dan Warthen. Well that was obviously BS. Maybe he genuinely doesn’t know what the problem is. Terry Collins in his post game presser clearly had no idea what’s wrong with Harvey. The best players in the league have slumps. Even the best starting pitchers have bad weeks, bad months, and bad seasons. But the Harvey red flags are very clear. His velocity is down, he’s lacked command on all his pitches, and he’s temporarily lost his strikeout stuff. I’m attributing it to playoff fatigue and not a secret hidden injury. No matter what it is, we need Harvey to fight through it sooner rather than later. The Mets will have a very tough time recreating the success they had last season without Matt Harvey. That’s all there is to it.
Plawecki Stinkin’ Big Time: Remember when Travis d’Arnaud got hurt and we all hoped that Kevin Plawecki would claim the catching job by right of conquest? Well he’s flopping big time so far. He’s 3 for 17 since he took over the job. Yikes. Travis was terrible for most of April, so it’s not as if we’ve lost a ton of production with Plawecki in the lineup. But black holes in the lineup are terrible, and Plawecki has been a black hole during any stretch of playing time he’s received since his promotion last season. It would be nice if he’d show us all something.
Tomorrow: It goes without saying the Mets must take the rubber game tomorrow and win this series against the Braves. The Nationals are on the verge of winning 2 out of 3 against the Royals tonight. It’s looking more and more like all the success predicted for the 2015 Nats may be coming to fruition in 2016 now that Matt Williams is gone. The Mets just need to stay focused, keep winning series, and let mooks like me worry about scoreboard watching in May.
Update: Papelbon blew tonight’s game for the Nationals! He gave up 3 runs in the 9th. Hooray. Pap sucks.