Matt Harvey needed to have a better start against the Reds than he did this weekend against the Astros, if only just for his mental state. While he didn’t quite resemble the Harvey of 2013, he did put together 5 solid innings against Cincinnati, leading the Mets to a 7-2 victory at Citi Field.
The trouble came early for Harvey, who walked Phillip Ervin on five pitches to start the game. After a Joey Votto single and an Adam Duvall sacrifice fly, the Reds were up 1-0. Harvey escaped further damage in the first, but next inning, a Scott Schebler double, followed up by an Ervin double, led to a second run.
Aside from a second Schebler double in the fourth, Harvey limited hard contact as of the third inning. He only struck out one, but seemed far more able to locate his pitches and control the game as compared to Saturday, where all bets were off. He went five innings, and perhaps has quelled some of the ‘non-tender Harvey’ chatter, at least for now.
The Mets got on the board in the second, with Brandon Nimmo beginning his dominant evening by leading off the inning with a well-struck double. He would come around to score on a Dominic Smith single. A clearly not home run was hit by Asdrubal Cabrera in the third, striking the orange line on top of the outfield wall that signifies the ball being in play. Terry Collins insisted on a review, which delayed the game over 4 minutes, much to the chagrin of the SNY broadcast team.
In the fourth, Smith walked to start the inning, and then was moved to third on a Kevin Plawecki opposite field double. Jose Reyes singled Smith and Plawecki home, putting the Mets up 3-2 after four innings. After retiring Cabrera on a pop out, Reds starter Tyler Mahle was done after four innings.
In the fifth, Nimmo and Juan Lagares hit back to back solo home runs of reliever Tim Adleman. After walking Matt Reynolds, Travis Taijeron pinch hit for Harvey, ending his evening after 74 pitches. Taijeron singled, but the Mets didn’t add another run that inning.
One inning later however, Nimmo was back at it, hitting a two-run home run to center field to bring in the sixth and seventh run for the Mets, which would be more than enough to put away the Reds.
Josh Smoker, Jeurys Familia, and AJ Ramos all pitched scoreless innings for the Mets, and all three looked considerably better than they had in the recent past. Smoker’s breaking ball looked sharp, Familia went two innings and threw some nasty splits, and Ramos got three quick outs to end the game.
Tonight really presented an alternate-universe version of the Mets, where their recent drafts look brilliant. With Nimmo, Lagares, Smith, and Plawecki all contributing offensively, and Cecchini getting into the game, along with a healthy-ish Harvey and Familia, this is reasonably close to what lots of folks probably dreamed on a few years ago. While few would call this lineup sustainable, it does offer some hope for at least a few of these pieces that, even a few weeks ago, might have seemed like afterthoughts for the team moving forward.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Brandon Nimmo, +24.1% WPA, Jose Reyes, +18.2% WPA, Kevin Plawecki, +12.1% WPA, Dominic Smith, +10.4% WPA
Big losers: None
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jose Reyes’s two-run single in the fourth
Teh sux0rest play: Matt Harvey’s fourth inning strikeout
Total pitcher WPA: +10.3% WPA
Total batter WPA: +39.7% WPA
GWRBI!: Jose Reyes