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Matt Harvey made his first start of the season Tuesday night in the Mets victory over the Phillies. While Harvey wasn't catching any eyes on the radar gun he looked impressive in his season debut.
The pitcher formally known as the Dark Knight kept his fastball routinely between 91 and 93 miles-per-hour but he still recorded five strikeouts through five innings. Harvey routinely stayed on the outer portion of the plate to the right handed hitters and inside to the Philadelphia lefties.
Harvey made a lot of use of his off-speed pitches, especially his slider. 35 percent of Harvey's pitches were off-speed. However, all five of Harvey's strikeouts came through the use of his fastball.
During Spring Training, new Mets manager Mickey Callaway said that the Mets didn't need Harvey to be the Dark Knight, he just needed to be a regular pitcher. “He might never be the Dark Knight again, but the Mets don’t need him to be that,” Calaway said. “His teammates in there don’t need him to be the Dark Knight and the guy he used to be. We need the best version of who Matt is today, and that version is going to be good enough.”
The version of Harvey envisioned by Callaway is exactly what Met fans saw on Tuesday night. Harvey wasn't overpowering and was far from resembling the pitcher he was even in 2015 following his return from Tommy John surgery. But, he proved he didn't have to be the Dark Knight to keep the Mets in the game.
Repeatedly between innings the SNY cameras showed Harvey speaking to Mets pitching coach Dave Eiland in the dugout. The pitching coach was reminding Harvey to finish his pitches.
Harvey only allowed one hit and one walk, which kept him out of troubling situations. The offense couldn't provide much of an offense while Harvey was in the game, failing to score a run, leading to the starter leaving the game with a no decision for the game.
Harvey was pulled from the game after 86 pitches and two turns through the batting order. Harvey was due to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning. With the pitcher leading off in a scoreless game and set to face the lineup for the third go around it was no surprise to see him pulled from the game in that moment at this point in the season.
The Dark Knight might not be back, but let's hope Matt Harvey is here to stay.