After getting swept by the Braves in their first series back from the All-Star break, with staff aces R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana getting roughed up along the way, the doubters surrounding the upstart Mets are now louder than ever. Couple that with surgery to starting pitcher Dillon Gee that will most likely sideline him for the rest of the season, and the romantic notion of the Mets competing for a playoff spot deep into the summer has begun to seriously waver.
The struggles of Dickey and Santana are what they are; there’s not a whole lot the team can do but ride them out. But the now-empty rotation spot is something that can be addressed, and the answer is not currently on the roster. Terry Collins stated that the next time Gee’s spot comes around, the team will either start 41-year-old journeyman Miguel Batista or 23-year-old phenom Matt Harvey. But is it really much of a choice?
Forget the angle of Harvey being a savior who will energize the team; this isn’t the second coming of Doc Gooden to Flushing. Even if Harvey fulfills his ceiling, he’s unlikely to ever be a bona fide Cy Young candidate. But what he does offer the Mets is their best chance to win right now.
Based on reports out of the organization, the front office is hesitant to call Harvey up from Triple-A because he could still use a little more seasoning in the minors to harness his command. His walk rate at Buffalo this year is high at 3.9 per 9 innings, and in an ideal situation he would be allowed some more time there to see if he can bring it down a bit before he makes his big league debut. Even in his start on Monday night — one for which many Mets officials were present, giving it the feel of an audition — Harvey walked four batters, but also allowed just three hits and two runs in 6.2 innings. The kid may have come command issues (how many hard-throwing pitching prospects don’t?) but he knows how to get people out.
What does Batista really give them? A walk rate that makes Harvey look like Greg Maddux.
The answer becomes even clearer when you realize that Batista is the only other option right now. The Mets don’t want to have to use assets to acquire another starter given their needs for bullpen help (priority no. 1) and another right-handed bat.
And what does Batista really give them? A marginal shot at getting through five innings with four runs or less, plus a walk rate (5.9 per 9 innings) that makes Harvey look like Greg Maddux.
When you get right down to it, the ONLY reason for not bringing Harvey up right now to start against the Dodgers on Saturday is for concern about his psyche should he struggle with his control and have to be sent back down. But not only is he a 23-year-old who has already pitched in a few College World Series and is no stranger to pressure situations, but going back to minors after making your big league debut is hardly an unheard of occurrence; it’s something that literally hundreds of other pitchers have experienced.
Ever hear of Roy Halladay? He made his MLB debut in 1998 with Toronto (and pitched very well in two games), then spent parts of both the 2000 and 2001 seasons bouncing back and forth between the majors and minors while he struggled with his control. Lo and behold, the experience was something he was able to build upon, and things seem to have worked out alright for Mr. Halladay.
No one expects Matt Harvey to come up and set the world on fire, and if he happens to toil at the next level when he first arrives it’s not the end of the world. What matters is that as of this moment, the Mets are still in a position to contend for a playoff berth, and Harvey — not Miguel Batista — is the one who can give them the best chance to do so.
Fan Hub Action
Michael T Carr May 16th
Another good article, Craig Lowell.
Charlie Lobosco May 1st
This is a very compelling story because Mr. Collins is a very passionate, tough, intelligent, athelete taking on some additional responsibliity to help others as…
Scott Cohen May 1st
Charlie.. very well said.. he does have guts
Scott Cohen May 1st
but it shouldn’t require guts. .like you said it’s nobody’s business but his own
Hisham Zameeth April 30th
best player ever…..
Kareem Musa Mayowa April 29th
We don’t need to be hopeless about the situation bryant his. Because even david villa situation also up to the level of his own to…
Maritess Lim April 28th
I still believe in KOBE’s power…… He is still the best…… He will make it possible no matter what……
mimi_aragon84 April 28th
I feel no pity for him. First of all, it is EAGLE, COLORADO, not Eagleton, secondly he enjoyed success and adulation from fans from 2003…
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