Gut Reaction: Mets 2, Phillies 0 – 4/3/18

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!

9 comments for “Gut Reaction: Mets 2, Phillies 0 – 4/3/18

  1. TexasGusCC
    April 4, 2018 at 12:08 am

    The two runs were nice, even though both were the result of defensive plays not made. Too, Lugo was dominant and there had to be conversation about sending him out for the ninth inning. Had a problem with Reyes trying to steal a base with two outs and the pitcher batting. He got thrown out and left the pitcher to start the next inning. Mentor, huh?

    Kind of awkward is that Callaway spent the whole spring talking up Cespedes being in the #2 spot. Even Cespedes in his rare press conference this past weekend talked about how the best hitters hit second. So, four games in, Cabrera is hitting second. I understand it may have been done to have more runners in front of Cespedes and this may be due to Rosario not at #9, but it seemed kind of weird to happen so soon and I’m wondering what Cespedes is thinking about that. Too, when there were runners on first and second and no outs in the third inning, who was hitting? The second spot, Cabrera. What did he do? The whiff.
    On a personal note, I know I appear to be negative too often, but I expect/would like to see smart baseball. Losses will happen like Sunday, but even in wins like tonight, I find that there are moments that happen that could have been avoided or can be improved. I guess being a coach may be a residual I’ll never escape even in another sport?

  2. April 4, 2018 at 6:40 am

    Is it just me, or did Harvey look super-skinny? He has always tended toward “chunky,” but last night, he looked thin as deGrom.

  3. footballhead
    April 4, 2018 at 6:40 am

    My only negative about this game is the fact that Callaway just didn’t have Lugo go out and pitch right after Harvey. The way Lugo looked, he could have gone the rest of the way, just using up two pitchers instead of five (a la Collins). So far, bullpen management looks like Collins 2.0. On another note, why is Robles on this team? With long men Lugo & Gsellman in the pen, the Mets would have been better off bringing in bench help.

  4. MattyMets
    April 4, 2018 at 7:43 am

    Charlie – he looks fit and clean shaven too. Love that he got a hit and then refuse to take the jacket from the dugout. Confidence and conviction!

    football head – I completely agree. I thought Lugo should have come in for the sixth and pitched the rest of the game. Familia and Ramos both give me agita. Also, I nearly puked in my soup when I saw that Robles was activated. What happened to meritocracy? He was awful last year and awful in spring training. I really think he should have been DFA’d in ST. Why not Callahan, Conlon or Purke?

    Gus – I wasn’t crazy about this lineup either, but to be fair there are some things you can’t predict – Harvey getting a hit, Reyes beating that throw but called out because the shortstop got his foot in the way, Nimmo hitting a frozen rope that easily could have been a double but the right fielder was in just the right spot, an umpire who made some really crappy ball and strike calls against us (second game in a row). That third strike call against Bruce (on his birthday!) was a foot outside. Called third strikes against d’Arnaud and Frazier also appeared to be balls on replay. And this was probably why, psychologically, Cabrera swung through that 3-2 pitch that would have been ball four.

    I had this post written and ready to go when Familia took the mound and then got awful visions of this being one of those soul crushing losses. I hope we can gather some steam before one of those happens. I really hope that Eiland can work with him and get his control in order.

    • April 4, 2018 at 9:01 am

      Neither Conlon nor Purke are on the 40-man roster and the Mets weren’t going to create space for one of these guys for what is likely to be a brief MLB appearance. My guess is they picked Robles over Callahan for two reasons – 1. Seniority and 2. They probably don’t care what happens at this point to Robles. If he bounces back and forth all year from Triple-A and the majors – so be it. They probably want Callahan up to stay whenever they call him up. Robles will go back down as soon as either Swarzak or Vargas returns.

    • TexasGusCC
      April 4, 2018 at 9:01 am

      Matt, I understand why he put two “table setters” in front of Cespedes, I just thought it was awkward four games into the season after convincing him all spring that “the best hitter hits second”.

  5. Pete In Iowa
    April 4, 2018 at 10:17 am

    My first prediction ever on this site: By the end of the season, a healthy Familia will not be the closer. He simply no longer knows where his pitches are going.

  6. MattyMets
    April 4, 2018 at 10:45 am

    Pete, that is bold. If you’re right than who fills the role? Ramos? Gsellman? A trade?

    My bold prediction is that Brian Joura was right and Seth Lugo will emerge as the right-handed version of Andrew Miller.

    • Pete In Iowa
      April 4, 2018 at 10:49 am

      I think Lugo, Gsellman and Swarzak are the prime candidates. I especially think Lugo would be the best suited as he generally throws strikes and his best pitch is his curve which Callaway and Eiland really like.

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