The responsibility of getting this road trip started off on the right foot, and turning the Mets’ recent fortunes around was thrust upon the young right arm of one of the organization’s prized jewels; Matt Harvey.
Recently called up from Buffalo to answer an S.O.S. sent out due to a depleted starting rotation, Matt Harvey made his Major League debut against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The twenty-three year old proceeded to offer up a performance that far exceeded fan’s, and perhaps even the organization’s wildest expectations.
He showed a veteran’s poise on the mound, and his location was marvelous. Matt pitched high and away to lefties, then dispatched right-handed hitters with a mix of high and tight, and low and away. It was damn near art. He topped out at 106 pitches; sixty-five for strikes. He ended his debut with 5.1 innings pitched. In that time, while he did issue three walks, he allowed Arizona only three scant hits. The D-Backs mustered little against the rookie, and were struck out eleven times by the Mets’ hurler. Most notable of all, Arizona managed no runs against him. Albeit short, his abbreviated shut-out performance was what I’ll call a brilliant outing. He looked highly proficient with a bat in his hands as well. He was 2 for 2 at the plate, collecting his first MLB single, and his first MLB double.
As far as the game itself, the Mets bullpen allowed the D-Backs to score a run in the eighth on Justin Upton’s sac-fly off Jon Rauch, to make it 3-1 in the Mets’ favor. In the ninth Bobby Parnell walked the lead-off hitter. And you know what that means. He flirted with the natural laws of Baseball. Bobby struck out the next two batters. He then walked Aaron Hill to bring up the dangerous Jason Kubel. But Bobby Parnell settled down, and came back to leave Kubel staring at strike three to end the game. While Bobby Parnell made things a little too interesting, he nailed down the Mets first win in their last seven games. More importantly, Bobby Parnell saved Matt Harvey’s first big league win.
As impressive as Matt Harvey’s effort was, it was just one game. And well, anyone can have a moment in the sun. Two times can always be chalked up to being a coincidence. But three times, and now you have a trend. Coach Terry said Matt Harvey is here to stay. So for the Mets’ sake, let’s hope this is indeed the beginning of a trend for the Mets’ highly regarded rookie; for he is now officially no longer a prospect.
During a season in which the Mets have offered little of late, they still manage to provide great moments this year. However way this season turns out for them, it was, and still is, one in which this team accomplished much. I might be speaking about individual accomplishments in nature. But they undoubtedly point to better days embracing this organization.
Think about it. David Wright danced with .400 earlier in this season, and remains an MVP candidate. Of course, there is Johan Santana delivering the club’s first ever no-hitter. R.A. Dickey broke Jerry Koosman’s record for consecutive scoreless innings pitched. Jordany Valdespin recently broke the team’s record for pinch-hit home runs in a season. And now, in his first start on a major league mound, Matt Harvey set the club record for most strikeouts in an Amazin’ debut.
The Mets must leapfrog three teams in order to even pose a threat to the Pirates and Braves for either of two Wild Card spots. The Diamondbacks are the first team they must pass. Thursday night, they went from being 2 1/2 games behind the D-Backs, to closing the gap to 1 1/2 games. They started the night seven games behind a Wild Card spot. They ended the night one game closer at six. So what do you say we call Thursday a nice day of improvement and take things from there?
All the Mets can do is to keep fighting on. Now that their newly christened rookie has seized game one of this series, fans can pass Friday morning and afternoon spending time pondering the Mets’s chances this series with Jon Niese and R.A. Dickey still yet to pitch. The Mets can accomplish much during this four game series. Matt Harvey set that up for them.