The Mets’ offense had been on a roll coming into Tuesday night, but the team was shut out for the first time in almost a month by Braves starter Matt Wisler. That made for a somewhat frustrating loss, but that had as much to do with Matt Harvey not looking very good as it did with the shutout part.
Harvey allowed three runs on eight hits with four strikeouts and two walks in five-and-two-thirds innings. He needed 100 pitches to do so, and he gave up a solo home run—barely, but still a home run—to Mallex Smith, who like many other Braves hadn’t hit one yet this season. According to Brooks, his four-seam fastball averaged just 93.9 miles per hour, the slowest start of both this season and his career. He generated nine swinging strikes, which isn’t terrible by the standards of major league starting pitchers, but isn’t what you’d expect from Matt Harvey against a lineup as dismal as that of the 2016 Braves.
Coming into the game, Harvey did require an IV for fluids because he’d been sick on Monday night. Perhaps that and the lousy weather played a part in his uninspiring performance. It was just a disappointing outing coming off his start against the Reds last week, during which he had looked a lot like the Matt Harvey we’ve seen before.
Perhaps the Mets' lineup was less concerning because Mets hitters made plenty of good contact. Every time they did, though, they hit the ball right at a Braves defender. In the end, they had just one hit, though it wouldn’t have been surprising if a play that was ruled an error on Freddie Freeman—on a very hard-hit ball by Curtis Granderson—had instead been ruled a hit.
Other than that, one thing that stood out in the game was Kevin Plawecki’s rough night. He went 0-for-2 at the plate and made a bad throw to second base on a stolen base and wasn’t able to stop a pitch—officially a wild pitch—that allowed a run to score in the sixth inning. That runner, A.J. Pierzynski, was almost erased one batter earlier, as he tagged up from second to third on a ball hit fairly deep into center field. Yoenis Cespedes made an incredible throw that was just barely not in time to throw him out at third.
The Mets have a chance to take the series in a matinee finale today at Citi Field. Failing to sweep the Braves is a bit of a letdown, but if they take the series, there’s still plenty of reason to feel good about the team as it begins its west coast road trip, even if Harvey hasn’t yet pitched like his dominant self.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Matt Harvey -11.9% WPA
Big losers: none
Total pitcher WPA: -7.2% WPA
Total batter WPA: -42.8% WPA
GWRBI!: Mallex Smith