New York Mets RHP Matt Harvey allowed two runs and eight hits, struck out two batters and threw 91 pitches in six innings, recording a no-decision in a 4-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Thursday.
"It was definitely a struggle," Harvey said after the game. "I went back to not feeling as great as I did in a couple of starts before this. ... It was a struggle, but when I needed to make a pitch, I was able to do that."
Harvey had a 6.08 ERA after his first 10 starts of the season, after which he allowed just two runs in 20 innings over his next three starts.
But in his last two starts, both against the Braves, Harvey allowed six runs, two walks and 15 hits in 12 innings.
"It's mostly a mechanical thing," Harvey said, sounding a lot like he did during his early-season struggles. "Obviously, it's been a struggle mechanically pretty much all year. ... For some reason this year it's been popping into my head, and just pitch for pitch doesn't feel the same. It's one of those things I've got to battle through and keep pushing forward. We're going to do that next start."
I would love to know what is really going on in this guy's brain. I appreciate his honesty, but he seems to be all over the road this year. Granted, this is just part of the game. It happens to every pitcher at some point, even the best of the best. They all eventually figured it out, and I trust Harvey will as well. But yikes, he certainly doesn't make it sound like a smooth process, that's for sure, and it looks like team is feeling it behind him. Harvey's starts used to be electric and intense. Now they're quiet and stressful. I miss the old days. I bet Harvey feels the same way.
In terms of results, he just isn't beating guys with this fastball like he had been earlier in his career (and during his dominant stretch of three starts between late May and mid-June). In his last two starts against the Braves, they've hit pretty much any fastball he's left over the plate, especially A.J. Pierzynski, who seems to really have Harvey's number. I don't know if it is because the fastball is different or if it's because his slider is weak and not presenting enough variation, but whatever it is, no one is fooled by Harvey's stuff.