The Mets lost 7-4 to the Brewers in Milwaukee last night, with Matt Harvey ultimately struggling in his return to the mound after serving his team-initiated suspension. Anybody familiar with Batman lore knows District Attorney Harvey Dent becomes the villain Two-Face. Once tasked with saving Gotham, Harvey instead becomes the very thing he fought so hard against. In Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, Harvey tells Bruce Wayne, “You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” Matt Harvey is no villain but he is a fallen hero, and Mets fans are left with the memory of the two faces of Matt Harvey.
The first is the snarling bulldog on the mound, daring batters to step in the box against him. The second is the fearful puppy from last year, who was ready to flee the mound he once dominated, with his tail between his legs. Both Matt Harveys exist, but after another major surgery, and the drama of the past week, it was hard to tell which Matt Harvey would take the mound against the Brewers.
For five innings Harvey was shaky but didn’t give in. He walked five and had no command of his pitches, but he still managed to strike out six and limit the damage. In fact, when the bases were loaded in the second, Harvey got Eric Thames, one of the more powerful hitters in the league right now, to strike out to end the inning. Jett Bandy had already put the Brewers on the board that inning with an RBI double, and in the third Hernan Perez made it 2-0 with a home run, but Harvey gave his team a chance to get back in the game.
Neil Walker single-handedly did just that. In the fourth he hit a towering home run off starter Matt Garza to put the Mets on the board. He tied the game in the sixth when the Mets put together a two-out rally. Asdrubal Cabrera doubled and moved to third on a wild pitch. Jay Bruce followed with a walk and then Walker came through with a hit to tie the game 2-2. The rally died when Bruce got picked off second base with Curtis Granderson batting.
Even though he was nearly at 100 pitches, Terry Collins sent Harvey out for the sixth and it all fell apart quickly. The first pitch turned into a comebacker off Harvey’s leg for an infield hit. Eric Sogard was up next and he hit a long home run. Orlando Arcia followed him as a pinch hitter for Matt Garza, and he too hit a home run, ending Harvey’s night.
Josh Edgin replaced Harvey, and after he allowed two runners to reach base, he got a strike-’em-out, throw-’em-out double play to end the inning, but a run ended up scoring from third.
Next it was Rafael Montero’s turn out of the pen, and by Rafael Montero standards it wasn’t all that bad. Yes, he did give up a home run to Jett Bandy, but he didn’t walk anybody and he struck out a batter.
With the Mets down 7-2 in the ninth, they staged a rally and attempted a comeback. Neil Walker led off with a single, and Curtis Granderson put them both in scoring position with a double. T.J. Rivera grounded out to bring Walker home and Granderson scored on a wild pitch to cut the lead to 7-4.
Lucas Duda had a tough return to the lineup. He was 0-for-3 with a strikeout and a double play when he came up to bat in the ninth. He lined a double to right, but that was as far as the rally would take them. Rene Rivera just missed a home run, and almost-Brewer Wilmer Flores popped up to end the game with the tying run in the on-deck circle.
The future remains uncertain for Matt Harvey and who he is at this point. He might not even know. The Mets have their own Harvey Two-Face, and with much of the rotation injured or struggling they need to hope that somewhere the snarling bulldog still lives.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Neil Walker +29.1%
Big losers: Matt Harvey -29.9%, Lucas Duda -10.7%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Neil Walker RBI single in sixth
Teh sux0rest play: Eric Sogard home run in sixth
Total pitcher WPA: -33.9%
Total batter WPA: -16.1%
GWRBI!: Jett Bandy