By: Stache Staff

Present Gets in the Way of the Future as Mets Fall to Rockies


For six innings on Wednesday night, Matt Harvey reminded Mets fans that this franchise has what can be a bright future. But when Terry Collins brought in Ramon Ramirez to start the seventh inning, it was as if he wanted to send a message that the present still sucks.

Within two pitches of Harvey’s exit the Mets were behind. Ramirez gave up a solo home run to Rockies catcher Willin Rosario leading off the inning. That blast broke a 1-1 tie to put Colorado ahead. Tyler Colvin followed with a double and eventually scored on a suicide squeeze bunt by DJ LeMaheiu to make it 3-1.

The Mets cut into the lead in the eighth with a Scott Hairston double and a single by Ike Davis. Hairston also produced the first Mets run, with a sac fly to bring in Ruben Tejada, who led off the first with a double.

The Mets were still in it, down by just one entering the ninth, but Frank Francisco allowed two runs on three hits to pad the Rockies lead. New York sent the tying run to the plate in the bottom half after a Mike Baxter single and a Justin Turner walk, but Ronny Cedeno flew out to just shy of the warning track to end it and give the Rockies a 5-2 win.

But enough about the present, if you’re a Mets fan tonight should be about Matt Harvey taking another positive step in just the sixth start of his rookie season. Harvey looked downright unhittable early and struck out five of the first six hitters to face him with an outstanding mix of fastballs and breaking balls.

His fastball touched 98 miles per hour and he blew it by Charlie Blackmon to start the game. Next was Jonathan Herrera and Harvey made him look even more foolish, following four straight fastballs with a nasty hook in the dirt that fooled Herrera so badly he chose not to run to first. After getting the lead in the first, Harvey was even better in the second, striking out the side on a fastball, a slider and a curve. The only complaint one might make is how long it took him to do it.

The fact that Harvey went to two ball counts with each hitter in the second and each guy fouled off a few balls before he struck them out might have prevented Harvey from pitching the seventh. Harvey said as much after the game, noting that R.A. Dickey told him that he was throwing high in the zone too much and similar pitches down in the zone would’ve induced groundouts and limited his pitch count. It’s great to hear him not only talk openly about what he can do better, but also take advice from guys like Dickey. If he can apply that advice, he’ll only get better.

Harvey hit a bit of a speed bump in the third when he walked a pair, but he sandwiched them around a double play grounder and then got Blackmon to line out to end it. He found more trouble in the fourth, when he gave up back-to-back singles to Herrera and Dexter Fowler, the first two hits of the night for Colorado. The jam was compounded when Hairston tried to throw behind Fowler, who took a hard turn at first. Ike Davis missed the throw and it trickled toward the backstop, putting men on second and third with nobody out.

But Harvey worked out of it with minimal damage. He struck out Gonzalez with a great inside fastball and although Rosario followed with a sac fly to tie the game, Harvey struck out Colvin with a fastball to keep it tied. His last two innings were solid as he showed no signs of fatigue despite approaching 100 pitches. The righthander got through the fifth 1-2-3, capped by a fastball at 98 to strike out the pitcher Jeff Francis. He got one more whiff in the sixth when he froze Herrera with a curveball. Jordan Pacheco followed with Colorado’s third hit, a lightly punched single to right, but Harvey finished his outing by getting Gonzalez to ground out.

Game Ball: Harvey pitched another great game, striking out nine over six innings while allowing just a run on three hits and two walks. He was also 2-for-2 at the dish with a couple singles and now has five hits in 11 at-bats.

Turning Point: Terry Collins’ decision to go to his bullpen after Harvey threw 102 pitches through six. When the rookie came out, everything unraveled. Based on the results in the fifth and sixth, I think Harvey had another inning in him, but I understand the decision. There’s no reason to push him too far during a lost season and letting him leave after a couple good innings builds confidence.

Next Up: The Mets and Rockies complete their four-game set at Citi Field on Thursday afternoon with New York fighting to stave off a sweep. Colin McHugh (7-9, 2.88 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 132 K between AA & AAA) will make his major league debut for the Mets, taking Johan Santana’s spot in the rotation. McHugh will be opposed by Rockies righty Tyler Chatwood (3-3, 5.46 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 17 K). First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. and the game can be seen on SNY or heard, as always, on WFAN 660 AM.

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