Well the wheels have officially come off Matt Harvey. The wheels came off long ago, now he’s been skidding along, smashed through the guard rail, fell over the cliff, and has exploded at the bottom of the ravine like a Looney Tunes cartoon. His ERA of 6.08 is the worst of all NL starters. Its 101 out of 105 qualified starters. He’s legit arguably the worst starter in the league. So lets dig into this shit sandwich. Lot to discuss
Why this dude sucks is a mystery. Everyone has their opinions, but based on what Harvey and the team is saying, none of those theories can really be validated one way or the other. I know here at Barstool we’re basically mocking the notion of GRIT this week. I know the entire point is laughing at how much the media and fans throw around these fake ass words. But in Matt Harvey’s case…does he actually lack grit? Thats what everyone basically thinks. Matt Harvey has a dickhead personality off the field so everyone wants to immediately call him a mental midget and say he lacks heart without really having any insight into what hes thinking or feeling. But heres the thing – I think a lot of that seems pretty warranted. I know it seems silly to sit here and talk about his body language and his demeanor and his behavior, but all that shit points to a dude who isnt really mentally tough enough to work his way through THIS type of adversity. He was strong enough to come back from surgery but thats a different type of problem. Injuries are freak accidents that you cant really be held accountable for. This one is just like “Dude you suck now. Figure it out.” I think for a dude was anointed the savior pretty quickly, this is a new, very difficult obstacle for him. And its very obvious. The dude seems to IMPLODE every time his defense lets him down. Which, to be fair, in some starts, was fairly often. But any time a couple guys reached base when they shouldnt have, it was lights out. He hangs his head. He walks off the mound in a pout. Last night he blows off the media. All just standard signs in life of a dude who’s not handling his profession well. (PS – Blowing off the media is the single most short sighted move an athlete can pull. It exacerbates the situation instantaneously. Especially in NY. Does the media suck? YES. Would it be nice if everyone had the right to say “I dont want to talk right now?” Yes. But You dont. Youre a pro athlete. This is the gig. So you can have a shit ton of on the field problems, or a shit ton of on the field problems AND off the field problems with the media. Which do you want?)
Now all that being said, you dont dominate the Cubs in the playoffs and dominate the Royals for 8 innings in the WS without being a focused competitor. You dont go from a being that pitcher to a guy with a 6 ERA because of some made up word like “grit.” If you dont think something is physically going on with Harvey, you’re an idiot. This seems to be a pretty textbook case of the Tommy John hangover, where perhaps maybe not that first season after surgery, but the following one, everything sort of catches up with you. We all famously know that Harvey pitched more innings after TJ surgery than anyone ever despite the innings limit fiasco, and I think we’re paying the price now. I wouldnt change a thing if they could go back. Last year was their best chance to win a WS and you have to go all in on it. But I think he’s physically not at his best now because of it. His velocity is down, contact rate is up, and the statistics on his third time through the order are ASTRONOMICALLY high. All pretty much points to a fatigued dude who cant overpower people the way he used to. I’m not saying the there isnt a mental aspect to it. I definitely think there is. There’s a balance in the world of sports analysis somewhere between Sabermetrics/physicians, and the guys who talk about “it” “clutch” “grit” and “heart.” Matt Harvey sucks somewhere in between them. I think there’s something to be said for him looking considerably fatter than he did when he was pre-TJ. I think theres even something to be said for the chewing tobacco. A few extra pounds as you age doesnt ruin a career. Some tobacco withdrawal doesnt either. But I absolutely think all that adds up and plays a factor too.
So long story short theres like 50 fucking things that all are probably contributing to his current downfall. And unfortunately I dont think there’s any solution other than another full offseason of rest to get all this shit right. I’m sure they’ll make up an injury to DL him in the short term, but I dont think thats enough. I think that arm needs a lot more rest than that and he needs a lot more time than 15 days to figure out what type of professional he wants to be. VERY shitty position for the Mets because they cant afford to continue to trot him out there but they also cant really afford to do anything overly embarrassing or drastic to a supposed ace they still have hopes for. Sit him for a couple weeks and then just take it from there. Thats about all you can do with a situation as fucked as this. Luckily Noah and Matz have answered the bell, deGrom seems to be battling through his own troubles well enough, and Tolo is Tolo. Its not that Harvey’s demise ruins this teams chances, its just more of the “What if…” of how good they would be if Matt Harvey was pitching like the NLCS/first 8 innings of WS version of himself.
PS – Hey Mets fans I am SICK of the fucking Batman jokes. Everyone thinks they’re some genius drawing these parallels between the rise and fall of Harvey like the rise and fall of The Dark Knight. The latest is everyone saying “Send him to the minors like Bruce Wayne in Bane’s pit!” Hey! Shut the fuck up about Batman! I’m watching my World Series hopes go down the drain! I dont care about Batman!