- Faith and Fear in Flushing - http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

Less Worse Can Be Good Enough

Matt Harvey [1]? Not fixed.

If anything, Harvey looked worse than he did in Cleveland. The velocity was up a little, perhaps, but still not where it needs to be, and the pitches were up a lot. Harvey staggered through five innings, bailed out by Yoenis Cespedes [2]‘s insane throw to the plate and a bit of luck. With a little less luck, Jace Peterson [3] blasts the floater of a breaking ball that was Harvey’s last pitch of the fourth inning for a game-tying pinch-hit three-run homer; Cespedes’s throw was a mighty and marvelous thing, but I cringed to see Travis d’Arnaud [4]‘s mitt on the wrong side of an onrushing Nick Markakis [5]. D’Arnaud held on and didn’t get hurt, two things that haven’t always been true. Happily, Harvey was out of the inning; mercifully, he was out of the game.

I shouldn’t be too apocalyptic: pitching’s really difficult, and making progress on mechanical adjustments isn’t like throwing a switch. Harvey had some stretches where his pitches were down in the zone and had bite. Maybe he’ll have more stretches like that, gain back a few ticks on the fastball with more work, and start missing bats again. Or maybe — and honestly, this seems like the more likely outcome — something’s physically wrong, and the Mets will get Harvey to admit it so they can work on getting it put right.

The Mets won in part because Curtis Granderson [6] was awesome and Cespy made that glorious throw. But they also won because the Braves are crummy, to use a technical term. This is an undermanned ball club enduring the barren part of a rebuild before they decamp to suburbia and get reinforcements from the minors. Bud Norris [7] is a tomato-can hurler there to eat innings, mark time and hopefully teach the young guys something along the way — an unfortunate, sometimes admirable role recently played for our side by the likes of Tim Redding [8] and Livan Hernandez [9]. Norris’s outing actually was a lot like Harvey’s — his breaking stuff was lacking and his pitches were elevated — but Norris isn’t as good as even a diminished Harvey, the hitters supporting him aren’t as good as the Mets’, and he made bad pitches at bad times, scoreboardly speaking.

Still, the Mets won [10]. And hey, Harvey’s endured an entire career worth of ulcerous 2-1 and 3-2 losses and so deserved a 5-and-fly victory. Watch baseball for even a few weeks and you’ll understand that unfairness is part of its fabric. Ask Michael Conforto [11], who began his night with a single and then spent the rest of it working good counts, pulverizing baseballs … and watching them sizzle into Atlanta gloves. Each time, Conforto trudged back to the dugout looking alternately amused and affronted.

Sometimes you do everything right and go 1 for 5. Or you stagger through 101 so-so pitches and walk off the winner. Baseball, man.