Matt Harvey: Rookie's Stellar Debut Gives Mets Glimpse of Bright Future
For the New York Mets, the second half of the season has been like a cruel joke that hasn't even reached its apex. Yet for one night, they were able to put all their frustrations away and watch Matt Harvey show them what the future holds.
Making his major league debut against Arizona on Thursday night, Harvey set a new Mets franchise record for strikeouts with 11 in just 5.1 innings pitched.
It was just one start, so expectations should be kept in check, but there was a lot to like. It was not just a case of a rookie taking advantage of a lineup that had no idea what to expect.
Harvey came into the season as one of the two big pitching prospects that the Mets were going to build around. Along with Zack Wheeler, they were the key players who would lead the next wave of great young talent for this franchise.
Wheeler has more upside, but Harvey has increased his value since being drafted with the No. 7 pick in the 2010 draft. His stuff kept getting better and better in the minors, which led to the dominance we saw last night.
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Harvey's entire repertoire was on display against Arizona. His fastball was sitting in the mid-90s—at least on the television radar gun—and he was just blowing it by the Diamondbacks.
His best pitch—at least last night—was his slider. It was hard and sharp with ridiculous tilt; the best one he threw was clocked at 91 in the bottom of the fifth, and Aaron Hill had no chance against it.
Given all the problems that the team has had with their starting rotation beyond R.A. Dickey, the lack of depth in the lineup and the general awfulness that has been the bullpen, it is a miracle the Mets were able to stay in the playoff race as long as they did.
Even though this second-half slide, which includes a 2-10 record in the last 12 games, has the Mets playing much closer to where we all expected them to be when the season started, Harvey's debut was exactly what this team needed.
Harvey is not going to magically fix everything—nor is he going to be as dominant as he was on Thursday night—but for a team that needed something to get excited about, Harvey played his role perfectly.
The Mets were supposed to be building for the future this season. Harvey was called up partly out of necessity, but also because he was ready.
He may not end up being the best pitcher for this team in three years—depending how Wheeler turns out—but on July 26, he gave this franchise the first glimpse of a future that looks much brighter than it did 24 hours earlier.
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