For two glorious innings Matt Harvey made me believe—until grim, stark reality set in and the Mets were on their way to a 12-7 loss. After facing a bases-loaded situation in the first, Harvey limited the damage to one run and managed to settle in. The strikeouts started to pile up, he was working quickly, and perhaps this would be the game where everything clicked and he would regain his 2015 form.
But then the fourth happened. The downfall started like it usually does: with a leadoff walk. Suddenly the command was gone and Harvey was again facing the bases loaded this time with backup catcher Elias Diaz up. Diaz was inserted into the lineup minutes before game time because Francisco Cervelli suddenly felt ill before the game started. Diaz had a grand total of one RBI when this game started. When it ended he increased that total six fold. The first big hit was a double to bring home all three runners.
Harvey’s night ended pretty quickly in the sixth when he gave up a home run to Josh Bell and a walk to Andrew McCutchen. Paul Sewald would allow that walk to score so Harvey’s final line was not pretty. He pitched five innings, gave up six runs, walked four, and struck out five.
Despite that less than stellar line, Harvey still had an opportunity to win the game because the Met offense kicked it in gear. Lucas Duda hit two absolute moonshots in this game. The first came in the the second inning to give the Mets the lead, and the second capped the Mets’ scoring in the fifth when they scored five times.
Michael Conforto started the scoring that inning when he hit a two-run opposite field home run, which was a promising sign from the young slugger. Gregory Polanco had a fielding mishap last week in Pittsburgh when the Mets were visiting, and he had another one in this game when he misplayed a Neil Walker single into a triple. Jay Bruce scored and then Walker came home on a wild pitch by Gerrit Cole. After Duda’s home run the Mets held a 7-4 lead.
Once Harvey allowed the lead to get cut to 7-5, Paul Sewald entered. Sewald had been moving up the pecking order in the bullpen, and had been given more responsibility by Terry Collins. Unfortunately he picked a bad game to completely lose it. It seemed like everything he threw was hit hard, and once again Elias Diaz came up with a big hit, this time it was a three-run home run. When all was said and done, twelve Pirates came to bat in the sixth and seven of them scored. Sewald pitched one-third of an inning and gave up five runs.
Neil Ramirez looked much better in his 2.2 innings of work, although he did allow a home run to Josh Harrison. Josh Smoker gave up a couple of hits in the ninth but did not allow any baserunners to score.
After getting down 11-7 in the sixth, after they had been leading, the offense looked flat the rest of the game and there was no real threat of a comeback.
The pitching was once again the main culprit in this loss, and despite the dream of the old Matt Harvey’s return, the truth of the matter is he was just a mirage and there is no telling when, or if, he will make his return.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Neil Walker +28.2%, Lucas Duda +26.4%, Michael Conforto +20.2%
Big losers: Paul Sewald -66.2%, Matt Harvey -41.0%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Michael Conforto home run in fifth
Teh sux0rest play: Elias Diaz home run in sixth
Total pitcher WPA: -107.4%
Total batter WPA: +57.4%
GWRBI!: Josh Harrison