Curtis Granderson led off the game with a home run, and Matt Harvey took a perfect game into the fifth inning. But the Mets lost to the Cleveland Indians on Saturday afternoon, largely because of Harvey’s performance as soon as things went from good to bad.
Harvey struck out all three batters he faced in the bottom of the first inning, and although he didn't strike anyone out in the second, third, or fourth innings, he retired all of the hitters he faced in them. He got one more out to start the bottom of the fifth, but he walked Carlos Santana. One out later, Santana scored to tie the game as Jose Ramirez hit a deep doubleto center field. Juan Uribe followed up with a single, and Harvey had lost both the perfect game and the lead in quick succession.
Both during and after that sequence, it was a real grind for Harvey. In the sixth, he gave up three runs and loaded the bases before Terry Collins turned to Rafael Montero, who escaped that jam and spared Harvey's final line any further damage.
Per Brooks Baseball, Harvey's fastball averaged 94.0 miles per hour and topped out at 96.1. That's not slow, but it's not quite what Harvey normally throws, either. Brooks had his average fastball at 96.5 miles per hour in 2015, and while Saturday's start was his slowest of the 2016 season, he has been below that mark in each of his three starts.
It's something to keep an eye on going forward, though it's probably still too early to consider it alarming. Harvey got nine swinging strikes in the game on 86 pitches, a 10.5 percent rate that isn't terrible but, again, isn't quite up to his norms. After the game, Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen suggested Harvey's struggles are the result of an easily-corrected flaw in his mechanics.
As for Montero, he gave up a pair of runs in the seventh inning, which unfortunately ended up the deciding runs in the game. The Mets' lineup, which had hit the ball fairly well but didn't have much to show for it through the first seven innings of the game, mounted a bit of a comeback in the top of the eighth.
With Curtis Granderson and David Wright on base, Yoenis Cespedes continued his torrid stretch of hitting with a no-doubt home run to left field. Shortly after that, Neil Walker hit a solo home run to cut Cleveland's lead to two runs.
Cody Allen was summoned from the Indians' bullpen for a four-out save, and the Mets got a leadoff walk out of Kevin Plawecki in the ninth, but they weren't able to score again. And by the way, Plawecki was in the game because Travis d'Arnaud got hit by a pitch on his left arm. X-rays were negative, though, so it appears the Mets dodged a bullet there with d'Arnaud.
In the rubber game on Sunday afternoon, the Mets will start Steven Matz opposite Corey Kluber.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: none
Big losers: Matt Harvey, -25.0% WPA, Alejandro De Aza, -15.7% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Curtis Granderson leads off the top of the first with a home run, +10.2% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Jose Ramirez doubles to tie the game in the fifth, -14.4% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -24.4% WPA
Total batter WPA: -25.6% WPA
GWRBI!: Francisco Lindor