Matt Harvey’s spring debut was highly anticipated. And in the first inning, it was a smashing success.
His second inning? Not so much.
Harvey was on a 30-ish pitch count, so he couldn’t get out of the second inning in his first start back from thoracic outlet surgery, giving up four runs on four hits, all of that damage happening in the second inning at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals, who hit him hard in a 14-11 loss. The one thing I will say about Harvey’s outing is that at least it wasn’t like last season where Harvey was hitting 99 on the gun right out of the gate for no reason other than he can. Harvey did seem like he wanted to work on things, and in the first start of spring training I’d rather he get hit hard working on things than letting his ego run wild and giving us all false hope like last season. Working on things is what the first couple of spring starts are for.
While Harvey gets the back pages, I’m actually more concerned with how Addison Reed and Seth Lugo looked on Sunday. Reed got hit just as hard as Harvey, and while Harvey is one of five Reed is going to be the guy in that bullpen for the first month and even beyond as Jeurys Familia comes back. There’s a huge amount of this season riding on whether Reed can be the closer and then the main setup guy out of the bullpen. If he can’t and everybody else has to move up a rung, then this season might be sunk before it gets going.
As for Lugo, he had a similar outing to Harvey where he pitched one scoreless inning, then got hammered in his second inning. He didn’t get hit quite as hard as Harvey, but it was hard enough. Lugo’s bad outing might worry Puerto Rico more than it worries the Mets as he will be on his way to pitch Puerto Rico’s WBC opener, and the Mets seem to be leaning towards Robert Gsellman anyway. But Lugo was such a weapon last season and he has such a good curve ball so it would be a shame if he took a step back.
But the Mets did have some good points, as Yoenis Cespedes hit another moonshot, then followed it up by hitting the ball hard the other way. Jay Bruce reversed that, going the other way then hitting a home run which was a flyout because of the wind. Besides, I’m sure that the Mets would rather have their problems than the Cardinals’ problems, as Brett Cecil gave up six runs to the Mets B squad after signing a four year deal, and he couldn’t get anybody out. They also have Zach Phillips, who isn’t really a problem for the Cardinals but he has Wolverine’s beard and Crystal Gayle’s hair and that freaks me out.