Matt HarveyThere are 38 guys on the Mets roster and only one of them bothers me being on the team. And hopefully the nameless, useless LOOGY won’t be on the playoff roster. There are three guys who don’t do it for me but all three have gone from starting roles on Opening Day to time-sharing roles here down the stretch, so that’s a good thing in my mind. And then there’s Matt Harvey.

Harvey being on the Mets thrills me. As a fan, you live to have the chance for a guy like Harvey playing on your team and to root for him. It’s fantastic to have a guy on your side that makes fans of other teams jealous. He’s a guy who’s not afraid of the spotlight, a guy who’s living his life the way a young, articulate millionaire should. He’s going to Rangers games and dating super models and playing pranks with Jimmy Fallon.

And even after missing an entire year due to injury, he comes back and was his dominating self. Sure, the won-loss record wasn’t as gaudy as it could be, due mostly to the inept offense of half the season, but each time Harvey went to the mound, the fans expected something great. If he had to pitch the last game of the season with everything at stake, there’s no way on earth he’d allow 7 ER in 0.1 IP. That is simply unfathomable.

Which is what makes the kerfuffle over his usage so utterly disappointing.

We’re so used to Harvey doing everything right and here was something that was not only bungled but screwed up so badly that the same fan base that adored him was ready to ship him out of town at a discounted rate. As an unabashed Harvey fan the whole thing felt like a bone-crushing punch to the kidneys. Never saw it coming and it left me on the floor, unable to properly react.

This is Matt freakin Harvey we’re talking about and people were suggesting trading him straight up for a shortstop and my only reaction was, “Eh, the Red Sox need to kick in something else.” At least Harvey had the promise of nine-figure contracts dancing in his head to cloud his judgment, something the rest of us didn’t have.

Yes, Harvey didn’t handle this right and it’s fine for us fans to be disappointed in that. He shouldn’t have let his agent make the announcement that he did, and just as importantly, at the time that he did. Yes, Harvey’s follow-up press conference did nothing to make things better. But since then, Harvey has been saying the right things, and more importantly, doing the right things.

Saturday, Harvey threw 97 pitches and was on the mound way past the time that a guy coming off surgery and only worried about a future contract would be. As cold-hearted realists, we can wonder about the wisdom of that decision. As Harvey fans, we should be overjoyed that our alpha is out there letting his actions take center stage.

It was not a dominating performance, as he went 6.2 IP and allowed 2 ER. But given that his teammates staked him to a five-run lead early, it was more than enough. Harvey wasn’t looking over his shoulder once the fourth inning rolled around and his agent wasn’t releasing stories to his favorite media person after the game, either.

For a couple of weeks, we’ve been worried about how Harvey would be in the playoffs. Would he even pitch? Would he only throw four innings and then be removed? Now it seems those worries are out the window. The Mets clinching this early allows them to manipulate their rotation the rest of the way so that when Game 1 of the NLDS rolls around, Harvey will be on the mound. And if he threw 97 pitches yesterday, there’s no way on earth he’s coming out early in a playoff game.

Bring on the Dodgers and who cares if they throw Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke at us — they have to go against Harvey and Jacob deGrom. And unlike the Dodgers, the Mets’ pitching doesn’t fall off a cliff after those two. And if push comes to shove, the Mets will have Harvey on the mound for Game 5 if it comes to that.

And all Mets fans should be comforted with that knowledge.

8 comments on “Matt Harvey and the return of the alpha

  • Rob Rogan

    The worst part, and I was definitely formulating trade scenarios in my head, was that it was so bungled from all angles that the fans on the outside had no idea what to think. Anger was the first reaction, right or not, to what we perceived to be Harvey letting his agent pull his strings.

    The best part, reality or not, is that yesterday looked like Harvey giving a big screw you to he who shall not be named by staying in the game.

    Of course, we’d be delusional to think keeping Harvey healthy is not in the team’s best interest too. It just kind of came out of nowhere in a pennant race. So, indignation and anger ensued.

  • Eric

    The confusion and anger about Harvey was legitimate. He and his agent blindsided the team. Boras was his ususal heavy-handed self and Harvey was not mature enough to be his own man. This is all uncharted territory in the Tommy John debate and no one has all the answers right now.

    • Brian Joura

      Confusion? Absolutely
      Anger? Eh, not so much

      • Patrick Albanesius

        I sure was angry. But I get invested in these players too much at times.

  • Metsense

    I am glad that Matt has put the innings limits to rest.
    I prefer deGrom in game #1 and #5.
    Reading Howard Megadal’s article about Met finances threw an ice bucket on me. In Howard we trust when it comes to Met financial reporting.
    I never wanted a knee jerk trade of Harvey. I would offer an extension during the next two years and if refused I would trade him before he walks. I won’t hold it against Matt if he refuses just like I won’t hold it against the Mets for trading him.
    I have been a Met fan from the beginning and fully realize that it is a business. I root for the name on the front of the uniform.

  • Julian

    What makes the start all the more satisfying is that three years ago he made his first “Harvey-esque” start against Cincinnati.

    He pitched 7.2 innings with one run on four hits with eight strikeouts. Now we watch him clinch the playoffs against the same team. With everything that the Mets have dealt with for a decade, it seems that the next decade will be filled with days like yesterday.

    I do have one more question though: Does this mean no more meaningful games in September?

  • Eric

    Its going to be degrom game 1. Harvey game 3.

  • Matty Mets

    deGrom in game 1 and 5 if necessary. I don’t see counting on Harvey for 2 starts in a 5-game series.

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