Manager Terry Collins told reporters two weeks ago he trusts and believes in Matt Harvey. But after the game against the Washington Nationals that Thursday (5-19), the anxiety and frustration for Matt Harvey by Mets fans was evident.
It seemed as the season goes on, the games were only getting worse for the pitcher once considered the ace of the staff. Harvey had his worst game of his career against the Nationals with nine runs, six of them earned and only lasting 2.2 innings.
Harvey walked off the field to a downpour of boos from the Mets “faithful” as many others took to social media to show their support for their Dark Knight.
Collins says he has never seen his pitcher struggle on this level, but he trusted him. It was time for a new program. A breakthrough was going to happen one way or the other.
They were not ready to give up on him. They needed one game. They needed that glimmer of hope.
In preparation for his start against the Chicago White Sox, the manager and Dan Warthen tried a new tactic to get the Dark Knight going. They had him throw simulated games to figure out the quirk that has befuddled everyone.
On Monday afternoon (5-30), Harvey rewarded their faith and trust in him.
As fans walked into the ballpark, many wondered what would happen to the Harvey. How would he pitch? Would he get through the first or second inning? If he failed yet again, would management finally consider sending him down to work on his mechanics?
Those questions were answered.
The Dark Knight took the mound. Ball in hand. First batter up. Adam Eaton flies out to center. Jose Abreu grounds out. Melky Cabrera strikes out swinging. Three guys up. Five pitches. Three out.
Eight pitches in the second. Three outs. No hits.
Harvey was on cruise control through the seventh. Only two hits his entire game.
Harvey exited the game after he got out of a jam in the seventh. He pounds his glove. He knew this time he got the job done. As he walked, fans gave him a standing ovation. Chants of “Har-vey! Har-vey!” poured down to the field with each step he took to the dugout.
His teammates were proud of him. He was proud of himself.
It was one game. Sure! But it was one game in the right direction. Even Harvey said as much to reporters:
“Obviously this doesn’t mean anything unless I continue this, what we’ve been working on. It’s a work in progress.”
Nobody wants to see the Harvey of old come back more than Harvey. His entire team has been holding it down for him. They have been supportive when others have not been. The starting rotation held the fort until the original hardcore ace comes back to form. Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz did everything they could to take pressure off him while he worked through his troubles.
The hard work was rewarded.
On Harvey’s amazing start, Collins said:
“That’s Matt Harvey. It was great to see.”
One game. Eighty-seven pitches. Six strikeouts. Seven innings. Only two hits. The Dark Knight rose again to fight another day.