With a clean shaven beard and a slimmed down look, Matt Harvey took the mound Thursday night throwing strikes. He was very efficient on the rubber, pounding the strike zone and keeping the Atlanta Braves batters off balanced.
It was very nice to see Harvey have quick innings. He fooled much of the Braves hitters with the exception of the new Mets killer, Matt Kemp. His final line was 5.2 inning pitched with 4 strike outs, no base on balls and 77 pitches thrown. Although he could have gone deeper into the game I thought it was the right decision to pull him after Kemp’s second home run of the night.
Harvey’s slim look, beardless face and the command of his pitches tonight was like déjà vu of the Dark Knight we all saw in 2013. Baby faced Harvey ran New York City in 2013. Everything was going right for Harvey then. He posed for ESPN’s body issue magazine and starred in Jimmy Fallon’s late night show. He really had fans in New York go crazy for his looks and incredible baseball talent.
In 2013 Harvey went 9-5 with a 2.27 ERA in 178 innings pitched. He also had 191 strikeouts and kept opponents to a .209 batting average. My favorite game that Harvey pitched was on May 17th 2013 when he tossed a 1 hitter against the Chicago White Sox. Not only did he pitch a stellar game, he looked calm, cool and collective doing it. He had a bloody nose in the top of the first inning of that game and did not call time to clean it up. He was gutsy and tough.
His swagger and cockiness made him into a star in 2013. He was the first of the Mets “Aces” to get called up in 2012. Before Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, there was a young Matt Harvey who was absorbing in the greatness of pitching front and center of the greatest city in the world.
In 2017 I expect Harvey to return to his old form. His pitching mechanics looked fluid and sharp tonight. His command was pin point, especially his slider and fastball, which are keys to his success. He kept the hitters off balanced by throwing hard fastballs that topped out at 95 MPH then setting them up with his off speed pitches.
Today was just a small sample size of what Harvey can do in 2017. He worked so hard this offseason as he was recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. A healthy Matt Harvey will be an important factor to the Mets winning this season.