Mets right-hander Matt Harvey looks to slowly be getting his velocity back
By JT. Teran
It was Harvey Day today in Lakeland, Florida, and although his final line won’t reflect it, Matt Harvey made some great strides forward in his outing.
The Detroit Tigers beat the Mets 5-1 today, but the story for New York is Matt Harvey and his fourth start of the spring. Coming into the game, the Dark Knight had gotten roughed up in each of his first three outings, so we were expecting more of the same.
Harvey’s day can basically be split into two: the first four innings, and the uglier fifth inning. Over those first few innings, Harvey kept the Tigers at bay. He gave up four hits, but most of them were on less than great contact, so that should be seen as a plus. The solo shot by James McCann in the second was one of the few hard hit balls Harvey allowed. He’d finish the fourth by retiring seven consecutive batters.
In the fifth, Harvey looked out of stamina and was pulled after the Tigers landed three straight hits and plated two more runs. In retrospect, maybe manager Terry Collins should have just been happy with getting four good innings under Harvey’s belt, and calling it a day, but it is just Spring Training, so why not try and stretch him out a little?
The good news overall is that Harvey’s fastball was a couple of miles per hour faster than it has been lately. Before today’s start, he had been sitting in the low 90s with it sometimes reaching 94mph. Today, it was a little more explosive, staying consistently around 93 and 94mph while peaking between 95 and 96mph.
Harvey’s ability to regain the speed on his fastball has been the most concerning part of his spring so far. Early reports suggested that Harvey and the Mets staff were starting to think he wouldn’t be able to get his speed back anytime soon, and that a new game plan would need to be developed going forward. While this one start doesn’t calm all those worries, it’s nonetheless an encouraging sign to his speed come back a little.
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Coming back from thoracic outlet syndrome has shown to take a toll on a pitcher’s fastball within the few first months of pitching, so it makes sense that Harvey is suffering from a similar fate. Patience and multiple approaches to the game will be the keys for the remaining weeks of Spring Training, and possibly the start of the season for him. Let’s hope this is step one of the return of the Dark Knight.