Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Rough Start: Harvey Gets Stuck in Gear

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Rough Start: Harvey Gets Stuck in Gear

Article excerpt

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Throughout his three-inning outing Thursday, Matt Harvey felt a certain uncertainty about his pitches. The sharpness and command that is normally present was absent, and it led to him surrendering four extra-base hits and battling his command in an 85-pitch start.

"Was a little awkward," Harvey said. "Every time I tried to execute a pitch it was just over the middle, and felt like every throw was a little bit different than the other ones."

The Mets lost to the Houston Astros, 8-5, in a split-squad game.

Ten days before opening day, Harvey experienced a rough outing against the Astros in what has otherwise been a sharp and efficient camp for the ace. Harvey surrendered six runs on seven hits in three innings after allowing just one run on four hits in his previous two Grapefruit League outings.

Center fielder Yoenis Cespedes also contributed to an inside-the- park homer while Harvey was pitching by failing to pick up a ball under the padding in center, because he believed it was a ground- rule double.

"He had to work hard," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Harvey. "It was a tough one. Was the first time probably at any time I've seen that lack of command of his fastball. We'll get him back."

Spring training starts afford pitchers the chance to work through issues in ways they may not want to during the regular season, and Harvey attempted to do so Thursday. Instead of just blowing mid- to upper 90s fastballs by hitters, he instead wanted to try to fix his mechanics.

Harvey just couldn't find the remedy, and on a day when he said "everything felt out of whack" the Astros were able to take advantage.

The right-hander allowed two runners in a scoreless first, then yielded three runs in both the second and third innings. The Astros recorded all four of their extra-base hits against Harvey in his last two innings, and he walked four while striking out a pair. …

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