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Harvey seeking ways to go deeper in games

MLB.com

ATLANTA -- Matt Harvey turned in arguably his best performance against the Braves during Friday's 3-2 loss. He went five innings and didn't surrender a run for the first time this season.

However, he admitted that he must be more efficient to help the Mets in the long run.

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ATLANTA -- Matt Harvey turned in arguably his best performance against the Braves during Friday's 3-2 loss. He went five innings and didn't surrender a run for the first time this season.

However, he admitted that he must be more efficient to help the Mets in the long run.

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"The only thing that is frustrating to me about tonight, especially with the doubleheader tomorrow, is that I need to go at least six or seven innings at least," Harvey said. "Unfortunately, the pitch count added up and I was able to keep runners off base for the most part."

Harvey threw 104 pitches in his five innings of work. He only allowed two walks, but it was location issues that kept him from going deeper in the game. Harvey would allow the first runner on base, and then have to spend extra pitches battling Braves hitters, who would get ahead in the count.

In the second inning, Harvey's pitch count soared. He threw 27 pitches after he surrendered a leadoff walk to Braves infielder Matt Adams. A few batters later, he had to work out of a bases-loaded jam to preserve a scoreless tie.

Early exits have been a recurring theme for Harvey this season. He has gone six or fewer innings in all but one of his starts, and his pitch count has hovered around 100 pitches per game.

Despite the high pitch count, Mets manager Terry Collins thought that Harvey had a better feel for his pitches. He was encouraged with how his breaking ball balanced off his fastball.

"I thought he was better and I thought the command of his breaking ball was better tonight. I thought he moved the fastball around pretty well, but just ran up on a lot of pitches."

Collins also acknowledged that he would like to see Harvey go a little deeper to save the bullpen, but he knows this performance could be something that can elevate Harvey's future success.

"It's tough and really puts the bullpen on notice a lot," Collins said. "I thought it was a step forward for Matt, and maybe this will kick-start him and get him going."

With the Mets potentially going to a six-man rotation and playing 18 games without a scheduled day off, Harvey noted that his success is tied to helping the Mets win. For that reason, he is prepared to work harder to be more efficient his next time out.

"It's about making pitches, and I have not quite been doing that successfully with nobody on, and they are getting on base," Harvey said. "The positive part is that I am able to keep them off and make pitches with runners on. I think the big part is figuring out how to keep them off base and really work toward that."

Jaylon Thompson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta.

New York Mets, Matt Harvey