On Monday, 8/21, Matt Harvey pitched three innings for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, giving up two runs on four hits to the New Hampshire Fischer Cats, including a home run to outfielder Anthony Alford. During his 53-pitch outing, Harvey was far from dominant and though he walked one and struck out three, he struggled with his command within the strike zone. Alford’s homer came on a 3-0 fastball (88 mph) that was up in the zone in the third inning.
Harvey earned his “Dark Knight” moniker because his dominance on the mound for the Mets in 2012 and 2013 indicated he could lead his team out of the darkness of losing seasons. He pitched with an attitude, expecting to dominate hitters while displaying a 98 mph fastball and a sharp curve and slider, along with a changeup that darted down in the strike zone. Monday night Harvey’s pitching was simply ordinary. After the game, as Harvey made his way down the right field line signing autographs, he was asked by a fan how he felt.
“Better,” he said succinctly, implying he is on a journey that he takes day by day, not really sure of where he will wind up. Harvey’s demeanor echoes his pitching performance, as both no longer have an edge. When all major league players selected nicknames to be worn on the backs of their jerseys for a marketing promotion the weekend of August 27-29, Harvey simply selected “Harv,” signifying that he knows his pitching is currently not worth Dark Knight status.
As Mets fans eye Harvey’s return to the majors, his actions call for lower expectations. Steady progress is his goal and where he eventually winds up no one knows because he is not a comic book hero. He is a pitcher recovering from surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome.
Note: The following table breaks down Harvey’s pitches. Light brown indicates the first pitch of an inning (e.g., 1 is the first pitch in the first inning; 14 is the first pitch in the second; 38 is the first pitch for his third and final inning).