Ex-Met Matt Harvey looks good again — ideas for what’s next

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Andy Martino
·3 min read
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Matt Harvey Orioles pitching against Yankees 2021
Matt Harvey Orioles pitching against Yankees 2021

Monday night ended up as a significant event in Matt Harvey’s career, a journey that most of us assumed was already over. In handling the Yankees through six innings, the erstwhile Dark Night announced on the biggest stage yet that he can still be effective.

If he keeps this up, the Baltimore Orioles will probably try to move him to a contender at the trade deadline. Let’s lay out a few fun scenarios that spring to mind:

— Sufficiently impressed by Harvey’s handling of their talented lineup, the Yankees change their longstanding, unwritten “No Harvey” policy (the club has always figured that the last thing Harvey needs is a return to New York City). He starts and wins Game 6 of the American League Championship Series against the Oakland A's, delivering the Yanks to their first World Series since 2009.

Sandy Alderson, who always had a measure of paternal affection for Harvey even while mocking or designating him for assignment, trades for Harvey. He becomes a late-inning reliever, pitches well and happily hands the ball to Jeurys Familia in Game 5 of the World Series. While leaving the field, he tips his cap to Terry Collins in the box seats.

— The Braves trade for Harvey. He beats Jacob deGrom in Game 5 of the NLDS. Hee hee hee, troll troll troll.

Anyhoo, Harvey really did look sharp, and not just because the Yankees were slumping. He’s not trying to be the power pitcher who lit up the city in 2012 and 2013, and who was later destroyed by Tommy John and thoracic outlet surgery. His new repertoire features an increased emphasis on the two-seam fastball. None of his pitches are elite, but his velocity is decent and he’s commanding his repertoire well.

“It’s probably the best I felt in a couple of years,” Harvey said after allowing one run in six innings Monday. “Just everything was working well. Mechanically, I felt good, felt strong throughout the whole outing. I was able to throw strikes when I needed to, guys made plays behind me and it was a good team effort.”

“There’s something to work with there,” David Cone said on the YES broadcast. “He’s got excellent control of his fastball to both sides of the plate. His walk rate is elite. The last piece of the puzzle as he kind of transforms himself into a two-seamer, sweeping slider guy is to get another breaking ball he can get called strikes with.”

DJ LeMahieu, hitless in two at-bats against Harvey, added, “He was throwing his sinker for strikes, pounding the zone. I thought his stuff was pretty good today.”

In five starts this year, Harvey is 2-1, with a 4.26 ERA, and seems to be improving. He already passes the eye test; last night he looked like a confident major league pitcher who knew how to get outs. He also looked like he had moved on from his own style and embraced a new one without reservations.

Many of Harvey’s ex-teammates are rooting for him to stick in the league in what might be his last chance. And if he does, maybe we’ll see him at Citi Field in that Braves jersey. Har har har.