To see the last time Matt Harvey threw more than five innings in a start, you’d have to go back nearly a calendar year to May 28, 2017 versus the Pittsburgh Pirates.
That trend of five innings or less continued on Saturday night at Citi Field, where the artist formerly known as the Dark Knight again struggled to find his Batman attire and surrendered four runs on eight hits.
The decisive blow came in the very first inning, where Harvey allowed a three-run homer to Jonathan Villar, who tucked a fastball from Harvey right over the left field fence.
The right-hander surrendered another long ball to opposing catcher Jett Bandy in the fourth.
He nearly allowed two more in his underwhelming performance: one to Travis Shaw in the second who banked a shot off the right field wall in the second, and another to Eric Sogard in the third, who had his fly ball knocked down by the wind that ultimately translated into an inning ending fly out.
“I just have to be better than that,” Harvey said after the loss. “Obviously, we had a good streak going and tonight I needed to go out and be better. That loss is on me, completely, I think.”
Harvey posted five scoreless innings in his first start of the year versus Philadelphia, but has followed it up with back-to-back stinkers where has allowed a combined eight runs in just 10 innings.
Perhaps the one silver lining from Harvey’s start was that he fanned six batters while touching 95 mph on the radar gun with his fastball, though as the game progressed he topped out at 93.
“He’s got good stuff. The strikeouts are there,” said Mets manager Mickey Callaway. “Tonight, I didn’t see him attack as well as I’ve seen him throughout Spring Training. I didn’t see that conviction that we’re always talking about.”
Is Harvey’s rotation spot in jeopardy?
Left-hander Jason Vargas is slated to return in about two weeks, meaning the Mets will have some decisions to make regarding their starting rotation.
Wheeler is the only pitcher for the Mets so far this season that has turned in a seven inning performance. Given it was against a lowly Miami Marlins team, it was encouraging to see the right-hander in command.
The Long Island native Matz hasn’t lit the world on fire, but has an overall 3.77 ERA and two wins under his belt so far this season, including one against the rival Washington Nationals where he punched out eight.
At this point, the most likely pitcher whose rotation spot is at risk is Harvey. Despite the fact that he’s in his walk year and is two seasons removed from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery, his results so far this year have been mediocre at best.
These things always seem to work themselves out, but the Mets will have a difficult decision to make in the coming weeks when Vargas returns.