What a difference a day can make. If you asked Mets fans about Matt Harvey before August 26, you would have only heard great things; after all, he was the guy who struck out hitters while blood streamed down his face, started the All-Star game at Citi Field, averaged 9.64 strikeouts per nine innings against only 1.56 walks per nine innings, and whose appearance in ESPN: The Magazine's Body Issue received a more-than-enthusiastic response from some fans.
Just a day later, the very same question would be sure to cause hysteria, exclamations of "Just our luck!" and "Why, God?" and possibly even induce early labor in rare cases. That is, of course, because on August 26 it was reported that doctors discovered a partial UCL tear in Harvey's right elbow, which sidelined him for the rest of 2013 and will keep him off the field for all of 2014.
Looking back with a bit more perspective, Harvey's 2013 was still incredible. He made 26 starts, accumulating a 9-5 record and 2.27 ERA while striking out 191 in 178.1 innings. Despite not making it out of August, he still finished fourth in the National League Cy Young voting. His command was impeccable, he was unflappable on the mound, and he had four legit weapons he could throw in any count. At times, it looked like it wasn't fair for the hitters who dug in against him.
While he'll miss 2014 rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, pitchers routinely return from the procedure with few ill effects, and there's plenty of justifiable hope that he will return to form in 2015.
Desired 2014 role: ace of the staff, All-Star, Dark Knight of Gotham.
Expected 2014 role: guy who does a lot of arm exercises and cheers on the team.