By: Felix G. Perez

Stage Is Set For Matt Harvey


Matt Harvey, who seemed to be on his way to becoming a made man in New York, has somehow found himself on the fast track to the gutter in the hearts of Mets fans everywhere. But yet again, with perfect timing and the teams championships hopes on his side, Matt Harvey finds himself in a perfect situation to avenge not only his last couple of hiccups, but possibly win back the hearts of most fans as well.

GM3 will be the first time the Mets have a glaring advantage on their side: Starting Pitcher. With the arms of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, the Dodgers were able to match, on paper, the firepower of the Mets pitching. But once the teams take the field on Monday for GM3 of the NLDS, the Mets will have the clear-cut advantage in that aspect.

This past week played host to a rollercoaster ride for the Mets. Prior to GM1 & GM2 in LA, as most of us already know, Matt Harvey missed a mandatory team workout for reasons that still can be left to the readers imagination. It was believed that the healing process caused by the bruises Harvey, or his agent, Scott Boras, left on the team after the whole debacle that was Harvey’s innings limit. Fans everywhere were getting angry and most even turned on Harvey for the issue. But slowly after, in his last start of the season, Harvey threw 6 2/3 innings while striking out six, giving up no walks, and nailing his thirteenth win of the season.

“For all the stuff that people have said, the last thing I ever want to do is put the ball down. We’re on our way to October, I’m going to be there and I’m going to be fighting every time I get the ball.”

Harvey showed fans and the team what they wanted to see and told them exactly what they wanted to hear. It wasn’t only about him anymore, but it was about the city and baseball.

Then, in what felt like the blink of an eye, Harvey misses the mandatory workout before the Mets take off to LA and the fan-base and teammates, can’t help but feel let down and all Harvey can do besides apologize, is sit there.

But as with some things in life, timing is everything and the timing for Matt Harvey’s first playoff start could not have come at a more vengeful time. The team and fan-base are red hot after a past terror by the name of Chase Utley came to revisit them in the worst way and time possible. It was October drama and its finest.

Yes the Mets could have possibly been up 2-0 in the NLDS only needing one more game to clinch the series. But looking past the Tejada/Utley play and brutal injury, the Mets did exactly what they were supposed to do: take a game on the road. The Mets also managed to do the impossible — take probably the best righty/lefty combination in the league and make them look normal by throwing deGrom/Syndergaard right back at em’.

The Mets need take a step back and focus on what’s most important, Game 3. GM3 will be the first playoff game in Citi Field after a nine-year playoff drought and it will also mark Harvey’s first postseason start as well. The Dodgers will send Brett Anderson to the mound which gives the Mets an unquestionable advantage in that aspect.

Citi Field will be packed and loud. And regardless of how you feel about Harvey — good, bad, indifferent — he is the perfect guy for this game. While every game is pivotal, GM3 while tied 1-1, at home, is a ridiculously high pressure situation. And Matt Harvey feeds off of pressure. It was part of what made him so lovable by fans. He looked at pressure in the face and made pressure look the other way.

“Well, he’s the ace. This guy loves pressure. He loves the big stage,” said Terry Collins about Matt Harvey. The Mets purposely set their postseason lineup this way so that Harvey would be on the mound in this game.

The postseason is about New York and the Mets, but Matt Harvey might trump all of those things. After last nights game, it seems that misfortune seems to find its way to the Mets. GM2 swayed every possible emotion and situation in favor of Los Angeles. The stage is set in every way for the Dark Knight: LA vs. NY, ace on the mound in first home playoff game, series tied, and possible vengeance for Ruben Tejada. The best way to relieve the pain left by Utley’s tackle at second base, will be to win GM3.

Matt Harvey can give the fan-base the most wanted case of amnesia ever. Win the game so that the team and fanbase can put the ghosts of GM2 back in the closet forever. Matt Harvey can come out in GM3, pitch a gem, and fans will love him all over again. Regardless of your feelings towards Matt, tomorrow marks a day that we all must root for him.

The Mets handled the best of what the Dodgers had to throw at them. Now its time for the Mets to take care of business at home.

The stage is set and the spotlight will be all on Matt Harvey. I’m sure I speak for all fans when I say this: Get. It. Done.

About Felix G. Perez

Felix Perez has been a Mets fan since 1998. His favorite player is Mike Piazza.

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