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Coleman: It’s Time For Mets To Give Matt Harvey The Ball

(credit: Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)

(credit: Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)

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By Ed Coleman
» More Columns

It’s time.

It was actually time before Matt Harvey impressed — once again — on Monday night for Buffalo against Toledo, throwing five hitless innings and going 6 2/3 before receiving a no-decision in a Bisons loss. But it’s certainly time now. Harvey is needed and he, not Miguel Batista, should be pitching against the Dodgers on Saturday at Citi Field.

Harvey was not at his best on Monday, possibly due to some jitters and also the fact that he hadn’t made a start in 12 days (July 4), outside of the terrific two innings he pitched at the Triple-A All-Star game. He was behind in the count a lot, and gave up leadoff walks in two innings. But he had a good power curve ball and a 2-seamer that induced 10 ground-ball outs.

He threw 100 pitches, giving up just three hits and two runs. If Josh Satin had been able to turn a double play, he would not have given up the first run in the sixth, and Justin Hampson allowed an inherited runner to score in the seventh which was charged to Harvey. He struck out four and walked four — the first time in seven starts that he had walked any more than two.

In 19 starts, Harvey has had very few stinkers. He’s 7-4 with a 3.34 ERA, has allowed 90 hits in 105 innings while striking out 106, and has issued 46 walks. He’s not a finished product yet. He needs to work ahead in the count more. When he’s behind in the count his ERA is 5.47, when he’s ahead, it’s 1.16. When you throw strikes, it helps.

Harvey has a good fastball usually in the mid-90s, and a sinker that’s getting better. He still has fastball command issues at times. His curveball is very good and he has a good slider, while his changeup still needs work like any young pitcher.

Look, Zack Wheeler — coming off a six-hit shutout for Binghamton against Erie – might be more ready than Harvey, but that’s not happening right now, folks. Harvey is older, more mature, and has the demeanor and personality to handle failure as well as success, the ups and downs that are inevitable with young prospects.

The starting pitchers in Atlanta — Chris Young, R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana — combined to give up 16 runs and 22 hits in just 13 innings. The ineffectiveness of what had been the strongest link in the Mets’ success startled manager Terry Collins 1128-1.

Miguel Batista, who’s given up 45 hits and 28 walks in 43 innings and has a WHIP of 1.698, is not likely to help that. Collins realizes that this is a critical juncture for his team 1128-2.

Here are the Mets’ second half numbers for the last three years:

2009: 28-47
2010: 31-43
2011: 31-40

That’s a combined 90-130 after the All-Star break the last three years. They’re 0-3 thus far in 2012 and have a four-game losing streak. This is a strange year with no great teams and injuries galore. Just yesterday, Joey Votto went on the DL and both David Ortiz and Jose Bautista were injured. The strangeness continues.

Give the ball to the kid. It’s time.

C U soon
Eddie C.

Are you ready to see Harvey? Make your case in the comments below…