By: Michael Ganci

Will the Dark Knight Rise in Queens?


It’s no question that the excitement is high for Matt Harvey’s return to the Citi Field mound.

When he was at his best, the building would have a different feel when he pitched. It wasn’t just a baseball game, it was an entertainment event. It was like Wrestlemania featuring Hulk Hogan. Matt Harvey is just a draw. There are lots of things that go into what makes Harvey such a polarizing figure.

Confidence or Arrogance?

Matt Harvey hasn’t been afraid to do things how he wants or when he wants to do it. It’s no secret that a couple of his decisions have brought him to the forefront, but he seems to handle the extra attention in style.

Whether it’s going to Yankee Stadium, posing nude in ESPN the Body Issue or even being a part of a comical session on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Harvey craves the attention, and that persona also translates when he’s on the mount.

I think it’s more an err of confidence than arrogance, but it’s easy to see how the two could be confused. Harvey knows he’s better than his opponent, no matter whether Miguel Cabrera or Asdrubal Cabrera are in the box opposing him. Every at-bat is war, and Harvey doesn’t want to win…he wants to decimate.

Remember Who’s in Charge

The Mets need to remember it’s them that makes the decisions, not their all-star starting pitcher. If you ask Harvey, I’m sure he’ll say he wants another inning, but you need to think about the long-term future of both Harvey and the team. If this is going to be a special season, they’re going to need hm down the stretch.

Don’t keep the reigns on too tight though. If he wants to date a supermodel, be on Jimmy Fallon, be a goofball on social media or whatever, let him. He is who he is, and his confidence is something the fans love. We haven’t seen a player in Queens who expects to win in quite a long time.

You’re talking about your future ace, and if all goes well, this could be the guy who anchors your rotation for the next 10-15 years. We need to make sure he’s in an environment that makes him want to stay. He loves New York, that’s not in question, but the thought of having him play for another team, especially the cross town Yankees makes me sick to my stomach.

Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day

I, for one, am not expecting Matt Harvey to be at 100 percent by opening day. I know he doesn’t have it in his make-up to give anything other than his best, but it may take a while to dust the cobwebs off. Sure, he’ll face live batters within a few days and opposing teams this spring, but there’s nothing quite like the grind during the season.

The fact that he’s already had Tommy John Surgery has to be in the mind of the medical staff, so you bet that they’re going to check on Harvey daily to make sure that everything is proceeding according to plan. If he’s fatigued, in any sort of pain or reporting discomfort, he should be given the extra rest he needs.

Remember Depth is a Strength

The Mets go into the season with a starting rotation of Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese, Jacob DeGrom and Bartolo Colon, with Dillon Gee likely heading for the bullpen. Gee can easily slot in and make a spot-start if Harvey needs some extra rest and there’s always young guns like Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz waiting in the wings in the minors.

God forbid we get their contract clocks going though, that’s management’s biggest fear.

The bottom line is that the Mets are not going from Harvey to garbage if he needs some time off. If he’s fatigued or feeling discomfort, a 15-day disabled list stint wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. When you have guys like Gee, Carlos Torres or the kids in Triple-A, there’s no reason to take unnecessary risks.

Does a Playoff Berth Depend on Harvey?

I can’t imagine any kind of run to the playoffs without Harvey being a key cog in the ship. To make that happen, the Mets need to keep his innings around 200 and manage the bullpen well. That means the late inning guys need to step up, especially those bridging the gap to the closer, whether it be Parnell, Mejia or Familia.

The bottom line? Optimism is back in Queens, and the fans have realistic dreams. Now it’s time to turn them into reality.

About Michael Ganci

Michael Ganci is the Co-Founder of the Daily Stache, along with Matthew Falkenbury. Since 2008, Ganci has eat, drank and dreamt all things Mets, and he'd have it no other way. Feel free to follow him on Twitter at @DailyStache.

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