PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- After two good starts to open Spring Training and a poor start Saturday, Mets right-hander Matt Harvey combined a little bit of all three in his fourth outing.Harvey allowed three earned runs on six hits over five innings in his deepest start so far against
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- After two good starts to open Spring Training and a poor start Saturday, Mets right-hander Matt Harvey combined a little bit of all three in his fourth outing.
Harvey allowed three earned runs on six hits over five innings in his deepest start so far against the Marlins at First Data Field on Thursday.
He tossed a pair of scoreless frames to open the game, but ran into trouble in the third, saying his mechanics failed on him some and had him leaving pitches flat.
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"I felt all right," Harvey said. "I obviously felt good in the first two innings and got out of whack in the third. I kind of yanked everything open. My front side was leaking, so everything was flat. Then I gave up a couple of hits and walked the pitcher, which is not ideal. Things kind of unraveled."
But as has been his pattern, Harvey regained his form and finished by putting two more zeros on the board in the fourth and fifth while striking out his final five batters.
"I was happy with settling back in. Those last two innings were much better," said Harvey, who struck out eight in the Mets' 7-6 loss but has a 5.52 ERA in the four starts.
In Harvey's previous start -- a 10-3 loss to the Yankees in Tampa -- the right-hander was saddled with the defeat in a rough outing in which he allowed a spring-high five earned runs. Harvey worked into the fifth inning, which became his undoing when slugger Giancarlo Stanton hit an opposite-field two-run homer after Aaron Judge worked a two-out walk.
One pitch Harvey was happy with on Thursday was his changeup, plus he likes the approach new pitching coach Dave Eiland has about wanting his hurlers to pitch inside to hitters and owning the inside part of the plate.
"Being able to throw that to both righties and lefties definitely helps, especially when I can command a fastball for the most part and use the changeup to sink it out of the zone," said Harvey of the pitch, which led to him striking out the side in his final frame.
"That last inning was good for me to use that a bunch. I was able to get a couple of swings and misses with it."
Added catcher Kevin Plawecki: "He pounded the zone early, and his changeup was good today. It was a great pitch for him."
Harvey said pitching inside would be key for the whole staff.
"I like the way that's been taught and told," Harvey said. "Obviously, you look at all the great pitchers in the game and in the past and present -- they all go inside with authority. That's going to be our motto. That opens up the whole outside corner for everything else.
"It's definitely nice. It's fun."
Bill Whitehead is a contributor to MLB.com.