Houston Heals, Harvey Battered, Flores Fried

New York Mets v Houston Astros - Game One

Baseball always does its best to heal. The healing, though nowhere near finished in Houston, started today.

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Welcome back to baseball, Houston. Let the healing begin.

Harvey, the Matt and not the hurricane, made a return of his own now that he’s fully healed and pitched for the Mets for the first time since June 14th. Suffice to say it didn’t go very well as Harvey lasted two innings and gave up seven runs on eight hits in the opener of Saturday’s doubleheader which led to a 12-8 loss to the Houston Astros in a game which featured the major league debuts of Curtis Granderson’s return in Jacob Rhame (decent) and Addison Reed’s return in Jamie Callahan (not so much).

Harvey’s command was awful. Every pitch that was hit hard was a pitch that missed the intended location.

“Everybody’s so worried about velocity. If I can go out there and be healthy and get people out, that’s the most important thing. I feel like I’ve been around long enough, and been injured long enough, to realize that velocity isn’t everything.” – Matt Harvey

He’s right. But one problem: when every pitch you throw is between 91-95 mph, you cannot miss location … certainly not as badly as Harvey did. You miss location on even a 95 mph fastball, you have George Springer putting it into the seats.

Sounding alarms is bad form for idiot bloggers like me. I’m certainly not the one who usually proclaims that the sky is falling with every little thing. But here’s the thing with Matt Harvey: If he spent April-June being the Matt Harvey of 2013, then Saturday would have been a product of rust and no big deal. We’d all just be happy that he’s back. But Harvey hasn’t been right since Game 5. He’s had a lot of injuries. There may only be so much that his body can take. Who knows where his mind is. He’s struggled a bit with basic baseball responsibilities like being on time, and who knows how that has manifested itself with Harvey. We have to at least acknowledge the possibility that the Matt Harvey that started the latest renaissance of the franchise might never come back. It doesn’t mean we don’t “believe” in Harvey’s abilities. But it might be time to manage expectations. Us as fans managing expectations isn’t as important in the front office managing expectations, and acting accordingly.

Houston Heals, Harvey Battered, Flores Fried
Nori Aoki is now a Met. Here’s unphotshopped proof.

With all the outfielders traded to teams that win, the Mets picked up Nori Aoki in a move which Josh Chapdelaine totally called on our last episode of the award winning Burgerball Podcast, and Aoki made his Mets debut in the second game of the doubleheader. The 35-year-old Aoki is still under team control through next season, and with Michael Conforto possibly on the shelf until Armageddon, Aoki isn’t the worst person to have on the Mets in ’18. Until this season, his OBP has been consistently around .350. And if you’re one of those complainers about “home run reliance”, you can’t complain about having Aoki on the Mets in some capacity. This season has been tough for Aoki as his OBP dipped to .323 with Houston, and under .300 with the Blue Jays due to the Canadian exchange rate. Now, if he’s the starting right fielder next season, you’re allowed to panic. But if he’s a fourth or fifth outfielder because the Mets went and signed Lorenzo Cain to play center field, then the Aoki move pays dividends beyond this season, when he’s needed just to get the Mets through to the merciful end with 25 players who can still stand up.

Houston Heals, Harvey Battered, Flores Fried
HOUSTON, TX – SEPTEMBER 02: Wilmer Flores #4 of the New York Mets is tended to by training staff after fouling a ball off his face in the fourth inning against the Houston Astros in game two of a double-header at Minute Maid Park on September 2, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

That’s proving more and more difficult as in the second game Wilmer Flores, who hit a grand slam in the afternoon game, fouled a ball flush off his nose and left the evening contest.

So let’s update your Injury Bingo cards:

Houston Heals, Harvey Battered, Flores Fried

Those playing top row can come collect your prize: An all expense vacation for two to Purgatory, where you’ll stay for 30 days and 29 nights in luxurious accommodations at the lovely La Quinta Ramirez.

As for Aoki, he got his first hit as a Met (which should have been an error by the first baseman) and made the final out of a long day as the Mets dropped the back end of the doubleheader by a score of 4-1. It was a game which featured a four run Astros sixth inning where Matt Reynolds went to first base on a chopper to third instead of trying to catch the runner at home, where he had a legitimate chance to get an out and save a run. Instead, he went to first base for the out there and Marwin Gonzalez went to third because nobody was covering there because of the shift. Then Gonzalez scored on a sac fly. Two runs which shouldn’t have scored but did because of a continuation of brain-dead play by the Mets. Doesn’t matter in the grand scope this season, but this latest trend is something that hasn’t been this bad in a long time. More proof of a lack of concentration that is covering this team like a sheath of vanilla icing on a molten cake. This needs to be exacerbated by the time next season comes, in any way possible.

The Mets have cut the deficit of games behind the Phillies for the number one draft pick to seven.

No Hate List Today

Houston Heals, Harvey Battered, Flores Fried
HOUSTON, TX – SEPTEMBER 02: George Springer #4 of the Houston Astros points to the “Houston Strong” patch on his jersey after hitting a home run in the second inning against the New York Mets in game one of a double-header at Minute Maid Park on September 2, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)


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