Stage 1 METS: It’s so sad when you see a young guy like Matt Harvey dealing with the mystery ailment that’s plagued Mets players for generations. It’s inexplicably taken so many Mets from us before their time. Ike Davis was officially diagnosed in 2013, and the disease took him in 2014. It moved so fast. Jason Bay was diagnosed shortly after he signed with the Mets in 2010, and the disease took him by 2012. He was so weak and pathetic towards the end. He was zapped of all the skills that made him a pro ball player. Hall of famer Roberto Alomar is another example. Traded to the Mets in 2002 at the age of 34 coming off a 2001 season that was arguably the best in his storied career. He instantly contracted METS disease and retired by 2004 with nothing left to give to the game. And now Matt Harvey has it. He comes back after his Tommy John surgery and puts together a brilliant comeback 2015 season. And now in 2016 poof. All the things that made him a studly ace have disappeared. His command is gone. His velocity is gone. His mental toughness and confidence on the mound have magically evaporated.
The Ugly Recap: Tonight, Matt Harvey was getting rocked from the get-go. He walked Jayson Werth with one out in the first inning, and then gave up a two run jack to Daniel Murphy. Murph crushed a terrible cookie of a pitch from Harvey. Everything fell apart in the third inning for Matt. He gave up a leadoff single to Ben Revere, a one out single to Bryce Harper to make it first and third for Murph. Then the Mets intentionally walked Murph (he’s batting .400 duh) to load the bases. Ryan Zimmerman hit a routine double play ball to Asdrubal Cabrera, and he booted it. He’s been so sure handed all season, and he blew a HUGE play. Revere scored on that play making it 3-1 Nats. Anthony Rendon then hit a double scoring two more. The ball he hit was roped to left field, and Michael Conforto absolutely could have caught it. But it bounced off his glove and the runs scored. Then Wilson Ramos hit a single scoring two more. Revere capped off the inning with a triple that scored the final two runs making it 9-1. Revere’s ball was also kind of misplayed by Yoenis Cespedes. The Asdrubal play was the real killer, but it wouldn’t have mattered. The wheels would have fallen off for Harvey in the next inning. He was throwing meatballs down the middle, and they were getting tattooed.
The Good News: As I said Harvey has stage 1 METS. The mysterious disappearance of pre-existing skills is the hallmark symptom of METS. But don’t worry folks. It can be cured. Sure the disease has claimed many a Mets career. But Curtis Granderson had it two years ago. He hit like .220 in his first year as a Mets. But last season it went into remission, and he had a huge season.
Shut Him Down: To me, Matt Harvey needs a freaking breather. Maybe skip a turn or two in the rotation? I wrote about this a few weeks back. I genuinely don’t believe Matt when he says he feels fine physically. No freaking way. He’s fatigued from his enormous post TJ and playoff workload from 2015. It’s obvious. That doesn’t mean his UCL is re-shredded. It doesn’t mean his arm is shot. But the Mets need to get Matty boom in a better place because right now he’s completely and utterly dunzo the second he steps on the mound. By the way, I’m not saying the workload from last season was a mistake. No waaaayyyyy. You never shut him down. We got to the World Series. He will rebound and be fine. But METS disease is a dangerous thing. You need to treat it delicately.
Serenity Now: I hope Harvey doesn’t punch anything in the clubhouse. I feel like he’s a clubhouse puncher.
De Bum: Speaking of METS disease, it feels like every fifth outfielder we bring on board gets METS disease immediately. Former Met Chris Young is like a real major league fifth outfielder with an actual skillset. He was a contributor on the A’s and Yankees. He plays for the Red Sox now and is okay. He was an auto-out for us. He hit like .100. John Mayberry Jr. wasn’t quite that level of player, but he was supposed to be able to hit lefties at least a little. He did nothing. And now Alejandro De Aza seems to be on the same track. He had a hit today, but he’s batting like .170. Brutal.
Murph The Gamer: In the second inning, Yo led off with a single and with one out Neil Walker lined a single over Murph. Murph pretended to catch the liner and did a faux throw to first to “double up” Cespedes. Yo motioned to head back to first but caught on to the deke and scurried to second base. He almost fell for it. Murph is such a damn gamer. I’m sure he’s going to crush Neil Walker or Asdrubal Cabrera at some point this year on a takeout slide. Bastard.
Plawecki Can’t Fly: Still in the second inning, Kevin Plawecki came up with runners on first and third and one out. Plawecki couldn’t get a damn sac fly with Harvey on deck. It didn’t really matter since the game was a freaking blowout, but can we please get some key situational hits or a damn sac fly?!?
Duda Stinky: So I think we can officially say that Lucas Duda is having a bleh season at the dish. He was 0 for 4 tonight. The guy has a .300 OBP. He’s batting like .220. Him and Grandy are essentially batting .400 combined. Together they hit like Murph. Hooray!!!
Strasburg So Back: I mean it’s old news at this point, but Stephen Strasburg has been absolutely nasty this season. I was at the game tonight, and he looked fantastic. His velocity was there all game, and his breaking stuff was working. He’s a perfect example of why we need to be patient and be careful with Harvey. TJ surgery ain’t no joke. Strasburg took a while to get back to the pitcher he was capable of being. As I said in my series preview, Strasburg was bleh in the first half of 2015 and then surged. A dude on Twitter said this:
We have to hope that Matt Harvey can have a similar kind of turnaround if we choose to handle him with care.
Tomorrow: Speaking of handle with care, Steven Matz gets back on the mound tomorrow night as the stanky Brewers come to town. I realize the west coast sluggishness was a fun excuse, but it’s clear at this point the Mets are in a slump. The Mets are 3-7 in their last 10 and in third place in the NL East. After this joke of a home series, the Mets are 2.5 games behind the Nats. It’s time to turn it around. Also, what are the odds Kirk Nieuwenhuis hits four home runs in a game this weekend? Cap’n 3 dingers is coming back to the Big Apple!