By Ed Coleman
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It had not been a great week thus far for the Mets.
On Monday, the Braves came to Port St. Lucie with their new star-studded outfield of the Upton brothers (B.J. and Justin) and Jason Heyward that contrasted sharply with the current no-name Mets outfield.
Then on Wednesday, the Venezuelan national team knocked the ball all over Tradition Field to the tune of 20 hits in a 14-10 win that wasn’t that close.
But on Thursday, Matt Harvey stepped to the mound to restore some sanity to the proceedings, giving a glimpse of just what might be in store for Mets fans this season and in the seasons that lie ahead.
Harvey was so-so his previous time out — 49 pitches over 2 2/3 innings with command struggles. He looked at some film of the outing, made some corrections, and the results were outstanding — one less pitch (48) that carried him through 4 1/3 innings this time, 35 strikes, no hits, no walks and five strikeouts.
Harvey usually has a great fastball, and Thursday he complemented it with a terrific changeup.
Manager Terry Collins feels that Harvey is rapidly learning how to throw his secondary pitches out of the zone in order to induce swings from opposing batters.
Collins also loves the way Harvey picks things up quickly and works on them tirelessly.
Young catcher Anthony Recker caught Harvey against Miami, and for him it was like a day at the beach, Harvey making it easy.
More good news — Zack Wheeler threw off a mound for the first time since straining an oblique, about 35 pitches in all, not at top speed.
Wheeler thinks he’s pretty close to making another start this coming week.
Even replaced closer Frank Francisco is making progress, albeit slowly, as he works his way towards getting in his innings in game action, which is still a ways away.
The Mets topped the Marlins 4-1 as five relievers, including Pedro Feliciano, followed Harvey to the hill. Ike Davis and Matt den Dekker each had a pair of hits, Davis a double and den Dekker a home run. Marlon Byrd continued to hit, now at .412 on the spring, and “Mr. Clutch,” Justin Turner, had another two-out hit that knocked in a run, Turner now batting .353.
Dillon Gee, Jeremy Hefner and Shaun Marcum will pitch over the weekend as they face the Tigers, Astros and Marlins.
C U soon
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