The New York Mets defeated the Atlanta Braves 8-2 this afternoon in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The story of the game revolved around Matt Harvey and his velocity over the six innings he pitched.
Matt Harvey threw 82 pitches over six innings in what was easily his best performance of Spring Training so far for the Mets. While it wasn’t vintage Dark Knight-style Harvey, he did shows some great signs of improvement that he will surely try to build on going forward.
The velocity of his pitches will be rightfully talked about after this start. After struggling to even reach 94 mph in his first three outings, Harvey threw a steady 95 and 96 mph through the first few innings. He even managed to hit 97 according to the SNY radar gun.
By the time the sixth inning rolled around, his velocity diminished. His fastball was registering at 92 mph, so it’s safe to assume he just ran out of gas by that point. Nevertheless, he was able to keep his slider sharp for the most part to get himself through that last frame.
The Braves scored twice against him, but really that first run should have never happened. A weak pop up fell between Asdrubal Cabrera, Yoenis Cespedes, and Curtis Granderson. All three veterans seemed to not know who would take the lead and ultimately, Cabrera — who probably had the best shot to catch it — bailed on the play in order to avoid a collision.
No one can really be mad at players not willing to make an annoying play like that with eight days to go before Opening Day, but unfortunately, that runner would eventually come around to score, and give the Braves an early lead.
The good news that Harvey brings to the table will surely help alleviate some of the concerns for the overall state of the starting rotation. Early Sunday morning, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson announced Steven Matz would be missing his next spring start with “elbow irritation.” The Mets don’t seem too worried about the lefty, but having Harvey be healthy and show glimmers of his old self again surely helps the big picture.
Harvey’s final start of the spring will be against Army in an exhibition game that was just recently relocated to Citi Field. If he can keep up his velocity, and improve his command more, the National League East may have to start getting worried. The Dark Knight is looking to come back with a vengeance.