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Let Harvey Smoke

It wasn’t Matt Harvey’s day [1], but then again 2012 wasn’t supposed to be Matt Harvey’s year anywhere higher than Buffalo.

There was still plenty likable to be mined from his limp, extra base hit-laden line, but five runs in five frames is what the box score says it is. At the moment, Matt Harvey is a 1-2 pitcher with a 3.86 ERA after throwing almost nothing but excellent innings in his first two starts yet only a few in his third. Sunday at Petco, you can say he was…

• admirable in the second for stranding a leadoff triple;

• alert (and a little lucky) in getting out of a first-and-third, nobody out jam on a pounced bunt, decent toss and two strikeouts;

• and good enough to survive the fifth despite a deeply driven double.

The first and the third, though, encompassed real damage in which doubles begat homers and five Padre runs crossed the plate. There’s only so much squirming a pitcher can do in his third major league start. The lesson for the young pitcher is don’t get into squirmable situations so much.

See, I say it here and then it just happens. Because it’s that easy.

Despite command being a slippery eel for a pitcher whose years on earth don’t measure many more than his days in the majors, I liked watching him work. I didn’t like watching the Padres wail, but I liked the escapes. I liked the high fastballs away. I liked the smoke. I liked imagining that a few starts from now he will figure out how to command those secondary pitches and treat the San Diego Padres of the National League like they’re the Toldeo Mud Hens of the International League.

It might take more than a few starts, but with Harvey setting off the Cholula meter and lacking nothing visible in the poise department, I’m more than willing to wait. Genuine promise contains a vast reservoir of goodwill that way.

In a totally unrelated development that occurred prior to the Mets’ boarding their charter home, Terry Collins had Jason Bay’s name placed on the no-fly list, because…hmm.