So Far, So Good

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets

The visions for Matt Harvey came to fruition in his first game of 2018. First was Mickey Callaway’s vision that Matt didn’t have to be the Dark Knight anymore. All he had to be was Matt Harvey. Second was that all he had to do from the back end of the rotation was go twice through the lineup. By those standards, Harvey’s five innings was actually a pretty good game made better by the fact that Harvey only gave up one hit and one walk in those five innings to set up things for the Mets bullpen.

But back to Harvey, his location and commmand of his pitches were good, and his velocity was as expected. There were still a lot of foul balls (22) which contributed a little bit to his early exit as he was up to 86 pitches. But 55 strikes out of 86 pitches is nothing to sneeze at. All in all, Matt Harvey was pretty damn good.

The bullpen also shut the Phillies out, even if the route to get there was slightly scenic. A.J. Ramos got two outs in the sixth, and it’s becoming obvious that watching Ramos is like being on a cruise ship where the waves are listed as “moderate” on the in house television channel. When you step onto dry land (or when you bring Jerry Blevins in), your legs still feel shaky. You had a good time, but you’re a little sick. That’s what it’s going to be like watching Ramos and his dizzying slider play coy with the strike zone all season. (At least Ramos had a better day than his roomie.)

Ramos and Blevins, late inning guys, set down the top of the order in the sixth while Seth Lugo was masterful against the rest of the order in the 7th and 8th. If you want to see what a bullpen is like when new school thinking meets old school roles, Game 4 of the 2018 season is the perfect example and the perfect mix of both. The setup guys were in against the top of the order in the sixth while the seventh and eighth were met by the long man. Mickey Callaway showed how modern bullpenning can work while using the old school role of long man. If starters are going to keep going just twice through the lineup like Harvey and Steven Matz did, Seth Lugo as the long man will be crucial in making sure that using your big guns in an inning like the sixth works. Lugo threw 19 strikes in 22 pitches and went through the Phillies like a hot knife through garlic flavored cream cheese. (Butter is so 1980’s.) If he keeps doing that, then guys like Ramos and Blevins and Swarzak can be deployed anywhere Callaway wants. The usage was great (maybe Gabe Kapler learned a thing or two along the way), but any usage only looks good if the players make it work. Lugo made it work tonight.

A Todd Frazier double and a Travis d’Arnaud single were all the Mets needed as their pitching staff made it hold up until Jeurys Familia came in for the ninth. Familia gave everybody the meat sweats but eventually made everybody’s hard work stand up as the Mets defeated the Phillies 2-0. The two teams return tomorrow for a Citi Field matinee as Noah Syndergaard goes against Aaron Nola. Hope everyone enjoys Syndergaard’s no-hitter tomorrow exclusively on Facebook.

Today’s Hate List

  1. This list is dedicated to Bryce Harper …
  2. … who came to bat in Atlanta on Tuesday …
  3. … to the organist playing “Go Cubs Go“.
  4. That’s going to make it really awkward …
  5. … when Harper signs with the Braves.
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