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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Harvey Days and Thursdays

I like the part where perhaps the best righty in the league comes back and pitches like he never paused for an elbow operation and subsequent rehabilitation.

Matt Harvey is ComebacKKKKKKKKK Player of the WeeKKKKKKKKK. With nine strikeouts after a twenty-month layoff, can month, year, decade and century be far behind?

“Just one start” is one of those things you say because a) it’s accurate and b) it’s sensible, yet never has “just one start” felt like a whole lot more. Our ace returned to resume His Aceness. He threw hard. He changed speeds. He baffled batters. He won.

As did the Mets. There’s likely a connection there.

The Mets played a wonderful game in support of/alongside Harvey. David Wright went the other way at bat and implicitly declared through his defensive actions his intention to compete for a Gold Glove. Travis d’Arnaud continued to hit like Johnny Bench and began to throw like Jerry Grote. Michael Cuddyer made with an RBI. Curtis Granderson reached base like Rickey Henderson in his prime. Daniel Murphy made a nice play. Wilmer Flores slid in expert fashion. Ian Desmond played for the other team.

The whole lot of Mets played supremely while Matt Harvey pitched. Matt Harvey pitched six innings, struck out nine and allowed no runs. It was 6-0 when his 88 pitches were completed. It was 6-3 when the game was over, partly because the bullpen doesn’t include Harvey, partly because you can only keep a good team scoreless for so long. But it was a Mets win over the Nationals, something that occurred only four times in all of 2014 and now has happened half as many times in extremely early 2015.

Harvey Days and Thursdays never get you down when they go like this.

Not nearly pitching at Matt Harvey’s level was Stephen Strasburg, which would be considered a shame by impartial observers, but given our partiality, that’s fine. On the same day the Masters began in Augusta, it was reasonable to expect two guys at the top of their games teeing off at 1:05 in Washington. But only one pitcher turned out to be a master of the mound this Thursday afternoon. Strasburg was…well, two years ago this month I was part of a crowd that delighted in chanting that HARVEY’S BETTER.

Today it would seem unseemly to point that out. Really, it’s kind of implied.

But amid the cool and the clouds (and the unwanted Tim Leary flashbacks I was experiencing) Harvey was definitely better. I had anticipated a little something along the lines of Pedro-Smoltz from the first week of 2005 or Santana-Josh Johnson from around the same juncture in 2009. Instead, it was Harvey versus whoever. We can’t complain when a dissolved duel tilts in our favor, though it’s a little disconcerting to realize it wasn’t five years ago that arbiter of Western Civilization Bob Costas was informing the rest of us that Walter Johnson should prepare to move over, there was a new monument in Washington. The hype for Strasmas in D.C. used to be comparable to anything we gin up for our Harvey Day folkways. Now, from the looks and sounds of things, it’s primarily Mets fans who make sure to be at Nationals Park when Strasburg pitches — and not because Strasburg is pitching.

Then again, Strasburg’s been a highly effective person on the mound since returning from his own interaction with Tommy John. Maybe you can apply the “just one game” qualifier to him for this outing. Still, when you consider our nation’s capital is about 150 miles north of Appomattox, where 150 years ago today Lee surrendered to Grant and ensured our nation’s capital would remain our nation’s capital (and our nation would resume being our nation in full), it’s instructive to remember that Lee at least showed up.

Strasburg was barely a factor on a Thursday that was all Harvey Day all the time. The hope here is that the calendar continues to register one Harvey Day after another, every fifth human day on the fifth human day, even if it’s just six innings and 90 pitches per appearance until Matt is deemed totally physically indestructible again.

On this Harvey Day, hope gloats. Hope is entitled to gloat today. Hope was on the disabled list for the final month of 2013 and the entirety of 2014. Hope has returned to defeat the prohibitive divisional favorite Nationals on their home field the first chance hope got.

Hope is a good thing, according to Andy Dufresne, maybe the best of things. And Harvey is an outstanding pitcher — with maybe the most marvelously rehabilitated of arms.

15 comments to Harvey Days and Thursdays

  • Daniel Hall

    I was chanting HARVEY’S BETTER as soon as Nosferatu walked two in the first, although it was probably a little weird, chanting all alone in my living room.

    Thankfully, as soon as Lefty Torres went to three three-ball counts on three Nationals, MLB.tv decided I’d seen enough, rolled up, and died. Fair enough. Even if the bullpen had burned a bit longer, sooner or later another ball would have found Ian Desmond close by, which by my calculation resulted in 70% of the Mets’ runs in this series.

    Among the guys carrying the curly W’s (not: Wins) around, even Santangelo behaved himself better than Desmond, despite squawking once that even the very best hitters shatter bats at times, and well, sometimes it happens to (the – according to intonation – compared to Santangelo, who seems to have won multiple MVP’s in his career, barely mediocre) David Wright, too.

  • dmg

    one pitch shy of a sweep.

  • Left Coast Jerry

    Mets MVP thus far: Ian Desmond.

  • Inside Pitcher

    There’s nothing like Harvey Day!

  • Dave

    Imagine if Sandy had given up a big package of prospects to acquire Desmond as had been rumored for 15 minutes…and he committed 3 errors as a Met while we lost a series to open the season.

  • Will

    Anyone else notice Harper switched bats for the 3rd k??

    • Daniel Hall

      Watched the Harvey Highlights now, and I wonder which poor batboy had the first bat broken over his sorry head between Goldilocks’ futile hacks.

  • Lenny65

    IMO it’s absolutely essential to show the stupid Nationals that they’re not just going to walk all over us anymore, so this was a nice way to begin to establish that. They don’t look so scary to me.

    • Dennis

      Not scary at all…but I would say that 3 games isn’t the best sample size to determine how good the Nationals can be……and they are missing 3 of their best players (Werth, Span, Rendon). Still…..always good to take the first series of the season from them.

      • Ionvito

        I agree with you there, but that’s why it’s doubly important to gather series wins against them since they are a fraction of what they can be. The Nats will get their outfield back and be dominant, but as long as we are waiting in the wings, I like our chances. I hope TC shakes up the line-up; Grandy/Wright/Lagares appear off in their current positions (although Grandy showed great discipline with all of the free bags.) I hope Travis isn’t just trolling us.

  • Dennis

    Fine performances in the first 3 games by all of the starting pitchers. A sweep against the Braves would be nice as well before coming home.

    • Ionvito

      I’m not sure if the Braves are better than we all think or if the Marlins are worse than we all think. I’ll take either/or, or both.

  • jerseyJack

    Already won 50% of the total wins vs Wash from last season ! not too shabby !!

  • […] Night was a comedown from Harvey Day and the Gee interregnum guaranteed the first losing streak of 2015. The closer had tested positive […]