'Dead arm' a dead issue: Harvey's heater lively
NEW YORK -- In an attempt to silence the alarms and call off the hounds before Friday's 4-3 loss to the Marlins, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson amended a description of the scary-sounding term that ace Matt Harvey has spent the last week semi-diagnosed and maybe unfairly labeled with -- "dead arm."
"It's another way of explaining a bad outing," Alderson said.
The colloquial phrase -- basically baseball's translation of "fatigue" -- aside, there was nothing Friday to suggest Harvey's arm is anything but full of life. The righty threw his first pitch of the night at 98 mph and his 105th at 96. In between he struck out 11 batters in eight innings, walking just one. Harvey did allow four runs and took his third loss -- but he really made just two mistakes.
The first-pitch slider he threw to Justin Bour in the fourth inning cost him, as Bour drilled it for a three-run homer. Same for the 1-0 fastball Martin Prado lined into center for an RBI single in the fifth. But those barely register on the levels of concern compared to this time six days ago, when Harvey allowed seven runs in four innings against the Pirates and the Mets thought he hit a wall.
"Today obviously felt better, like I felt stronger and I was in control," Harvey said. "Nobody is more frustrated than I am over the past two outings."
Harvey's now lost consecutive starts for the third time in his career and just first since his rookie season in 2012. He hasn't won since May 1, although over that span he's twice watched New York's bullpen spoil shutouts. In the two starts prior to Pittsburgh, Harvey didn't allow a run in 15 combined innings. He began Friday night's start with that kind of stuff, fanning five of the first six Marlins and tossing three perfect innings.
"I kind of felt going into tonight that we'd see better stuff. And we did," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "As great a teammate and as great a person he is, he hasn't been very happy this week."
Harvey will wait six days to pitch again, as the Mets plan on implementing a six-man rotation starting next week. Coincidentally, he also had to wait six days this time through due to an off-day. With all the rest, Harvey said fatigue issues -- no matter what they're called -- won't be a problem.
"I think using that word ["dead arm"] for people is kind of alarming," Harvey said. "I didn't feel like I was dead. I just kind of got out of my mechanics. ... When you have missed a year [after Tommy John surgery] and you go out there and battle every time, you're finding out again what your mechanics are doing. For me, I think, mechanics-wise it was a lot better this time. We've just got to keep that going and really just stay focused on that."