With Jason Vargas set to return from the DL soon, Matt Harvey's time in the rotation might be numbered. He did candidacy to keep his place no favors in his start against the Braves on Thursday night.
Harvey lasted six innings, giving up six runs on eight hits with a walk and four strikeouts. All of the damage came in the first three innings.
The 29-year-old got off to an inauspicious start as Ender Inciarte and Ozzie Albies kicked off the game with a pair of singles before Freddie Freeman put the Braves on the board with a sacrifice fly. Harvey was able to get the second out of the inning but hung a changeup to Kurt Suzuki who took full advantage with a two-out two-run home run.
Harvey settled down in the second inning before running back into trouble in the third.
Albies led off the inning with a single and Nick Markakis drove him home with a single. Suzuki doubled then a mound visit was unable to change Harvey's luck as the next batter, Preston Tucker, smacked a two-run double. By the end of the third inning, the Mets were down 6-0.
Harvey was able to stop the bleeding after the third and save the bullpen for three more frames. If there are any positives to take away from his performance, it's his ability to fight through the sixth inning.
If Harvey is to remain in the rotation, his next scheduled start is April 25 against the Cardinals in St. Louis.
Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Before Harvey's start, we reported that the team was evaluating whether to keep him in the rotation or Zack Wheeler. I got the sense that the team was still leaning Harvey, and that he'd have to get bombed in order to be the odd man out.
Well, he got bombed.
At least now, it won't be awkward for the front office. They don't have to worry about Harvey's objections, or Scott Boras', if they decide to move Harvey to the bullpen (Harvey can't be sent to the minors without his consent).
Plenty of outcomes are still possible. Wheeler and Steven Matz have to continue to prove that they are better options. Vargas has to return on schedule. Everyone, including Harvey, has to stay healthy. But Thursday's game was highly significant for Harvey's status, and his role with the team going forward.