The meteoric rise and catastrophic fall of Matt Harvey is something that only few athletes have experienced. The persona and aura that he carried was unmatched in New York Sports. Harvey was made for New York City. He had a personality that was made for the spotlight and he found himself under the brightest of lights when he was with the Mets. Harvey is slated to face his former team for the first time tomorrow night. On the mound where he was pegged the Dark Knight of Gotham, Matt Harvey will make his return to Citi Field as a Baltimore Oriole.
How did we get here?
The Mets selected Matt Harvey with the seventh overall pick in the 2010 MLB draft. He made his Major League debut on July 26, 2012. He set the record for most strikeouts in a Met’s debut with 11. Harvey earned the victory and his climb to fame only accelerated from there.
Matt Harvey in 2013 was one of the most electric pitchers the game has ever seen. Every fifth day was “Harvey Day” and the atmosphere that filled Citi Field was similar to that of when Doc Gooden pitched. Harvey legitimately was a threat to throw a no-hitter every time he took the mound. In 26 starts, he posted a 2.27 ERA and a 191 strikeouts. Therefore, Matt Harvey earned the ball to start the All-Star game at Citi Field. Unfortunately, Harvey came crashing back down to Earth when the team announced he would need Tommy John surgery and would miss all of the 2014 season.
After a year plus on the shelf, Matt Harvey was ready to make his turn to the Mets. He was electric in his return, posting a 2.71 ERA and 188 strikeouts. Harvey’s right arm helped propel the Mets to the postseason for the first time since 2006. Not only did he help them reach the postseason, but also started the first postseason game in Citi Field history. His story came to a conclusion when he fought to pitch the ninth inning of game 5 of the World Series. He dominated all game, but fell apart in the ninth.
Harvey struggled out of the gate in 2016. His velocity was down and he was not striking out as many batters as usual. After landing on the 15-day injury list, the Mets discovered Harvey was struggling with thoracic outlet syndrome and he had to miss the rest of the season.
The following season, Harvey started the season 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA in his first four starts. However, his struggles from 2016 then caught up to him. He finished 2017 with a suspension for violating team rules and an extended stay on the IL with a fractured scapula. He finished 2017 with a 5-7 record and a 6.70 ERA.
2018 was no kinder to Harvey than the two previous seasons. After being relegated to the bullpen, the Mets designated Harvey for assignment. He refused to report to his minor league assignment. Therefore, the Mets shipped Harvey out to Cincinnati in return for Devin Mesoraco. Mesoraco became Jacob DeGrom’s personal catcher and helped him win his first of back to back Cy Youngs.
Post Reds Career
After his time with the Reds, Harvey bounced around to the Angels, Royals, and a minor league stint with the Athletic’s. He was not impressive in any of those stops. However, Harvey seems to have regained some of his old form once he signed with the Baltimore Orioles this past offseason. Currently, Harvey sits at 3-2 with a 3.60 ERA. He is nowhere near what he was at his peak; however, he seems to have regained some of what he once was.
Harvey will take the mound at Citi Field for the first time since 2018. He will be matched up against Taijuan Walker, who is having himself a very nice season for the Mets. When he was at his peak, it was a must watch event when Harvey took the mound. He was the first of a line of impressive Mets pitching prospects to make the majors. Behind him were Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz. Harvey is one of the greatest “what-if?” stories in New York sports history. He should be showered with cheers when he takes the mound tomorrow. What happened to him is not his fault. He provided Mets fans with some of the best pitching performances in recent Mets history and he should be treated as such.
-Pete Chatterton (@Pchat12)