On a cold, damp night at Citi Field five Mets pitchers combined to shut out the Phillies. The ballpark may have only been half full, but fans got their money’s worth as Matt Harvey introduced a new approach on the mound with a scoreless five innings to show for it. Relievers AJ Ramos, Jerry Blevins, Seth Lugo (who looked awesome in two innings) and Jeurys Familia combined to close it out, though the latter made it a nail biter in the ninth. Phillies starter Ben Lively matched Harvey’s donuts through five innings before surrendering two runs in the sixth courtesy of a Todd Frazier double and Travis d’Arnaud single.
The big story of course was Matt Harvey 3.0. This edition doesn’t blow people away with 98mph heat and wipeout sliders, nor does he struggle with command and give up hit after hit to guys sitting on his fastball. This version works quickly, throws strikes and uses location and an improved changeup to prevent batters from getting good wood on the ball. Harvey moved the ball around, inside and out, up and down and mixed speeds with a fastball that topped out at just 93, but had nice movement, a sinking changeup and an effective, if not unhittable, slider. It wasn’t overpowering stuff, but it was enough to record five strikeouts and hold the Phillies to just one hit and one walk. His mechanics have also been tweaked some, likely courtesy of his new mentors. Harvey now pitches from the first base side of the rubber, instead of the center, kicks his leg higher on the windup and seems to be a beat quicker with his delivery. It all seems to be working for Harvey. Though he walked off with a no decision, he has every reason to hold his head high. This was a good start to a hopefully big comeback year for him.
Noah Syndergaard takes the hill tomorrow afternoon to close out the shortened series and home stand. Let’s go Mets!