Pedro Martinez. Oliver Perez. Johan Santana. (Yes, Johan Santana.)
In recent years it seems as if the New York Mets, the New York media and the oh so faithful Mets fans swear season after season that the second coming of Tom Seaver is upon us. Not only have I not seen anyone remotely Seaver-esque, I haven’t even seen a solid, consistent, dominant pitcher who can remain healthy for more than one season.
As yet another second half of the season collapse winds down, the Mets chatter consists mostly of what to look forward to next season. So much emphasis has already been placed on 23-year-old rookie starting pitcher Matt Harvey, who was called up from the triple-A Buffalo Bisons in late July. Again it seems as if everything is surrounding this one pitcher, like he is going to be the one who is going to carry the team on his back. No pressure, rookie!
With the eighth start of his major league career against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night, Harvey was dealt his fourth loss, giving up three earned runs–which pushed his ERA to just over three now–and throwing what looked like a grueling 92 pitches in only five innings.
A 3.04 ERA is nothing to scoff at, but you have to take in to consideration a few things. Before coming up to the Mets, Harvey had a 3.68 ERA in triple-A, and a 4.53 ERA with the double-A Binghamton Mets. While the decreasing number does imply improvement, you have to take in account that now he is facing major league batters. Will he be able to maintain a low ERA when faced with a full season in the majors?
Harvey did pitch phenomenally on Aug. 16 in his start against the Cincinnati Reds, going 7.2 innings and only allowing one run against the best team in baseball. His two other wins came against teams who have a sub .500 record in the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Philadelphia Phillies. He also lost to a sub .500 team, giving up five earned runs in the first three innings against the San Diego Padres.
I’m not saying that he’s bad. I’m not saying that he’s amazing. I’m not saying he will or will not be a stud for the Mets next season. All I’m saying is that in light of the expectations that have been set but not met in recent years, I urge Mets fans to be cautiously optimistic about the prospect of Matt Harvey.