Nov 2, 2015

2015 NL Comeback Player of the Year: Matt Harvey (the 2015 Season)

Looking back at "the Dark Knight" Matt Harvey's 2015 Season:

APRIL: Matt Harvey made his much anticipated return on April 9th, the third game of the 2015 Mets season in Washington DC. Harvey was outstanding striking out nine Nats allowing just four hits & no runs over six innings of work, before Terry Collins pulled the plug on him. Harvey earned his first win & his season looked bright, exciting Mets fans.

On April 14th he made his first home start in front of 39,89 at Citi Field against Philadelphia. He allowed three runs over six innings, but The Mets gave him run support with a Daniel Murphy HR, a Lucas Duda bases loaded double & Matt Harvey with his own RBI base hit led to a 6-5 Met win.

After a win over the Marlins, he closed out April with an exciting subway series win in the Bronx. Harvey pitched 8.2 innings on the Saturday afternoon broadcast, as all of New York was caught up in this one bringing some life back to the played out subway series rivalry.

The Mets won 8-2 as Harvey struck out seven allowing five hits, ending his first month back from surgery at 4-0 with 3.04 ERA & 31 strike outs. The win came after the previous nights loss which had snapped an 11 game win streak. Harvey showed that he was still the guy who made a difference.

May: In another big start coming early in May, he went up against the Mets NL Eastern rivals the Washington Nats at Citi Field. Harvey was great shutting them out for seven innings on his way to a 4-0 combined Mets shut out. The Mets were riding high in first place as  the Nats fell six back.

The rest of May wasn't as king for Harvey he earned two losses, including a horrible outing at Pittsburgh where he gave up seven runs over four innings as the Mets took a weekend sweep. He did pitch two fine outing where he went to the 7th inning or later but earned no decisions despite shutting out both the Cards & Cubs in those games.

He closed out the month with a season high 11 strike outs in a 4-3 loss the Miami Marlins at Citi Field.

June: In June, he had a fine outing on June 16th, where he shut out the mighty Blue Jays line up at Skydome in Toronto. In that game he allowed just four hits in seven innings. It was the last game the Mets won before going on a seven game losing streak & falling out of first place. His next start would be a loss at Atlanta in that mess.

July: He closed out the first half of the season with a victory over the d-backs at Citi Field. In that game he also hit his only HR of the season, a two run shot helping his cause. At the All Star break he was 8-6 with a 3.07 ERA, certainly establishing himself that Matt Harvey was back.

In Harvey's first start of the second half, he lost at Washington to Gio Gonzalez as he gave up five runs just two of them earned. Harvey drove in the only two Mets runs of the game as well. At that point the Mets fell three games behind the Nats.

His next start was a win against the Dodgers in a NLDS preview, where the Mets supported him with 15 runs. In this game Harvey drove in two more runs, now giving him a stretch of three straight games where he had driven in a pair of runs each time. His record now was at 9-7.

On July 31st was the day or you could say that week where the Mets whole season turned around. The Nets had recently brought up young Michael Conforto, acquired Kelly Johnson, Juan Uribe, Addison Reed & Tyler Clippard, as well as Sandy Alderson making the Mets biggest deal in years, landing Yoenis Cespedes. With Noah Syndergaard & Steven Matz also in this outstanding young rotation, the Mets were a force to be reckoned with.

August: On August 5th Harvey threw seven shut out innings in Miami, as he won his tenth game of the season (10-7). This came in the midst of a Mets seven game win streak, a stretch of 11 out of 13.

On August 11th, Harvey threw eight more shut out innings at Citi Field in a 4-0 Mets win over the Colorado Rockies. The Mets regained first place and never looked back, the swept the Nats in a critical series & kept winning as the Nat kept finding ways to loose.

Harvey closed out August with two no decisions although in those games he allowed just one run in twelve innings combined. In five starts dating from July 31st to September, the same point where the Mets season turned around, Harvey allowed just two earned runs in 34.2 innings pitched, with 33 strike outs & just two walks.

September: On September 2nd he beat the Phillies, while striking out nine batters at Citi Field earning his 12th win. In that game he allowed four earned runs, the most runs he allowed since June 10th. The nine strike outs marked the seventh time he would have nine or more Ks in a game in 2015. He would make it ten at seasons end.

There was talk a few times about six man rotations, which happened on & off. There was the concern for innings thrown be these young starters, some were in the minor leagues at the start of the year & of course for Harvey who was coming off his surgery. Mets management dis a fine job at handling all these concerns.

Drama: But at the start of September with the Mets fighting to stay in first place & make the post season, Harvey's agent Scott Boras started belly aching about a 180 innings limit for Harvey.

Harvey should have kept quiet but stated he thought Dr. James Andrews also told him about the limit. Later Andrews said he never stated that innings limit.

Quotes: "I never want to put the ball down. Obviously, I hired Scott as my agent and went with Dr. Andrews as my surgeon because I trusted them to keep my career going and keep me healthy. As far as being out there and being with my teammates and playing, I'm never going to want to stop. But as far as the surgeon and the agent having my back and looking out for the best of my career, they're obviously speaking their minds."

The feedback was negative & for the first time in his career, the fans, the media & all of New York was mad at Matt Harvey. His manager tried to stick up for him, GM Sandy Alderson said the plan was 185 innings plus the playoffs. The team said the issue would be looked at & addressed. Harvey back tracked his words & said he wanted to pitch.

His next start after all the controversy wasn't that good, he was beat up for seven runs on eight hits, in just 5.1 innings. He did not get a decision in the Mets 8-7 loss. It would be 12 days before a rested Harvey would pitch again.

This start came on a Sunday night subway series ESPN televised game. With all the talk about pitching limitations Harvey shut out  the AL New York team for five innings, he struck out seven & allowed just one hit in an electrifying performance.

Then he was removed from the game by Terry Collins, Harvey wasn't happy but complied with Collins & pitching coach Dan Warthen's wishes. The Mets went on to loose the game, now all the critics were yelling "why was he taken out of the game, should have kept him in". The drama continued...........

Mets Clinch NL EAST: On September 26th the whole drama of Harvey's past month was kind of put to rest, that's what winning does. That day in Cincinnati Harvey got the ball to go out & clinch the NL Eastern Division title. That he & the Mets did, he gave up just two runs, while scattering nine hits in 6.2 innings of work.

But it was enough for the Mets as they supported him with ten runs, highlighted by a Lucas Duda1st inning grand slam & HRs by Curtis Granderson & David Wright.

The Mets clinched their first divisional title since 2006, the fans who deserved it more than any one were ecstatic. The Mets organization was also thrilled, the players, coaches & manager as well.

Matt Harvey now wanted the ball in the post season, pitch & innings counts meant nothing. He closed out the season matching his season high 11 strike outs in 2-0 loss (where he earned no decision) to Washington, who were now ending the season seven games behind New York.

2015 Regular Season Stats: As for Matt Harvey his regular season totals in 2015 were a 2.71 ERA (6th best in the NL), to go with a record of 13-8 (.619 winning %) with 188 strike outs in 189 innings pitched. He allowed 37 walks, 18 HRs, 156 hits & 57 earned runs. His walks & hits per nine innings (1.019) & his walks per nine innings ratio (1.759) were seventh best in the NL.

At the plate he batted .108 with seven hits, one HR. two doubles & 7 RBIs.
For his fine season Matt Harvey was awarded with the 2015 NL Comeback Player of the Year Award.

Looking back at Matt Harvey's 2015 Post Season performances:

NLDS Game #3 Citi Field, New York: With the Mets & Los Angeles Dodgers tied at one game each in the NLDS, Mets Terry Collins sent Matt Harvey (13-8 / 2.71 ERA / 188 Ks) to the mound, in his first post season start. The Dodgers manager Don Mattingly sent Brett Anderson (10-9 / 3.69 ERA / 116 Ks) to face off against him.

Harvey had been saved for the third start for three reasons, one because Jacob deGrom deserved the nod over him, Harvey needed to cut down on innings & it was the first home post season games for the Mets in nine years. It all came down to this for Harvey, in his short but very news worthy career.

Harvey was not usual over powering self on this night, a shaky 2nd inning saw L.A. score three runs on four straight hits. Yasmani Grandal who had not gotten a hit with runners in scoring position in what seemed like forever, came through clearing the bases. But these post season 2015 Mets answered right away & supported their pitcher.

Yoenis Cespedes singled on a grounder to Jimmy Rollins. Lucas Duda also singled. The Mets fans came back to life, making lots of noise. Travis d'Arnaud then singled home the Mets first run scoring Cespedes. Wilmer Flores then singled as well. Curtis Granderson, The Grandyman delivered with a bases clearing double off the right center field wall, putting New York ahead.

In the home 3rd, Cespedes singled again & Travis d'ARnaud followed with a long HR to left field putting the Mets up 6-3.

In the 4th Juan Lagares doubled to start things off. With two outs Don Mattingly chose to walk David Wright & pitch to Daniel Murphy. Murph came through again, driving in Lagares with a base hit. Then Yoenis Cespedes launched a tremendous HR into the second deck in left field, an estimated 425 feet, putting the Mets up 10-3. Citi Field went wild, as Cespedes came out for an old fashioned Mets 1980's style curtain call. Cespedes had three hits, a HR & 3 RBIs.

Harvey pitched with heart, 5 innings, 3 runs, 7 hits, 7 Ks & 2 walks. He was relieved by Bartolo Colon who to the delight of the Citi Faithful, struck out the side in his first  inning of work.

The Mets added to the rout tacking on three more runs in the 7th inning. Travis d'Arnaud stated off with his third hit of the night. Wilmer Flores & Juan Lagares both walked & Michael Conforto came through with a pinch hit sac fly.

After JP Howell through a high tight one to Curtis Granderson, he answered with another shot off the wall. This one to left field driving in two more runs, bringing his RBI total to five on the night. It was now 13-4 Mets, setting a Mets  record for most runs in a post season game.

In the 9th Eric Goddel couldn't put it away allowing a three run HR to Howie Kendrick, Jeurys Fanilia had to come on & close it out. Mets took a two games to one lead with the 13-7 win. The twenty runs scored is an NLDS record.

NLCS Game #1- Citi Field, New York: The two young& amp; upcoming teams in the National League both arrived a bit earlier than anyone expected. The New York Mets & Chicago Cubs were now the two best last standing teams in the NL for 2015.

A crowd of 44,287 came out to a chilly 45 degree night at Citi Field in Queens, New York. Mets legend Keith Hernandez threw out the first pitch & it was on to the start of the Mets eighth NLCS series in team history.

In Game #1 the Mets Terry Collins sent "the Dark Knight" Matt Harvey to the mound, in the biggest game of his young career. The visiting Cubs Joe Maddon sent veteran Jon Lester to the mound.

Tonight Matt Harvey proved he is the big game pitcher everyone thought he was. Tonight he cleared up any doubt or any animosity any Mets fan had against him after the whole 180 innings pitched fiasco. Matt Harvey stepped up in the national spot light & gave a big time post season performance.

In the 1st inning he got the Citi Field crowd psyched up by striking out the first two Cubs batters. He ended the 2nd inning striking out Jay Soler looking. In the 3rd, after a lead off ground out, he struck out David Ross swinging & Jon Lester looking. In the 4th inning he got his sixth strike out wiffing Kris Bryant.

In the 5th he hit Anthony Rizzo with a pitch & gave up a double to Starlin Castro. A single & a walk would follow but Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes threw a bullet nailing Castro at home plate  trying to run on him.

Harvey ended the inning striking out Jon Lester again. The Cubs went down quietly in the 6th as Harvey kept them under the Dark Knights control.

In the 7th he was still strong, although he gave up a single & issued a walk, he closed out the inning with two more strike outs.

It was his longest outing since August, he went into the 8th inning, pitching 7.2 innings, allowing two runs on four hits. He walked just two & struck out nine.

He took a line drive off his shoulder, picked it up & threw out the base runner as well. He even had a rare successful sacrifice bunt, quite a night for the Dark Knight. Matt Harvey is now 23-1 when the Mets score four runs or more.

Everyone was talking about the Mets pitching & the Cubs bats. Tonight it was about the Mets pitching & the Mets bats, although not a huge offensive night it was certainly enough.

In the 1st, once again it was that man- Daniel Murphy, blasting a solo shot off Jon Lester. Murph became the first Met, since Donn Clendenon in the 1969 World Series, to hit HRs in three straight post season games.

After the Cubs had tied it, the Mets came right back, with one out Wilmer Flores& amp; Juan Lagares singled. Matt Harvey's unsuccessful sacrifice bunt got Flores out at third. 

But then Curtis Granderson singled, scoring Lagares with one of his two runs on the night In the home 6th, Met catcher Travis d'Arnaud launched a long HR to dead centerfield bouncing off the HR Apple. Right on cue the Apple rose as Citi Faithful roared. The Mets chipped away with their fourth run, including one in each of the last three innings, with some more good base running from Juan Lagares.

Lagares led off with a base hit & moved over to second on Matt Harvey's sac bunt. Lagares then stole third, the second Mets stolen base of the night. That's a lot for a team that is last in the NL in thefts.

Lagares' stolen base paid off, as "the Grandyman" came through once again hitting a sac fly to left field scoring Lagares.

With two outs in the 8th, Terry Collins took the ball from Matt Harvey after he had served up a HR to Kyle Schwarber. Jeurys Familia got the four save out, the game ending fittingly on a sparkling play at second from Murph. Mets win Game One 4-2, take a one game series lead.

2015 World Series Game #1- Kansas City, Missouri: The surprising National League Champions, were Terry Collins New York Mets, they came to Kansas City to face Ned Yost Royals, who were making their second straight trip to the Fall Classic.

In the World Series opener, Collins gave the ball to the ace, Matt Harvey (13-8 / 2.71 ERA / 189 Ks) Post Season (2-0 / 2.84 ERA) to the mound against the Royals; Edinson Volquez (13-9 / 3.55 ERA / 155 Ks) Post season (1-2 / 4.32 ERA).

As Matt Harvey threw the first pitch to open up the 2015 World Series, Alcides Escobar drilled a shot to left centerfield. Either Yoenis Cespedes didn't see it or just misjudged horribly, it dropped between him & Michael Conforto.

The speedy Escobar rounded the bases for the first inside the park HR since the very first batter of the very first World Series in 1903.

Note: In the 4th inning FOX lost its main& amp; backup generators causing a power outage. This led to the loss of the television feed & the audience lost of one at bat.

In the 4th inning Daniel Murphy, who was the superstar of the previous two rounds of the playoffs, continued his hot hitting as he singled to center field. He set a franchise record with 17 post season hits.

With one out, the Royals put the shift on to the right side for Lucas Duda. Duda found a hole and singled to right, with no one at third base, Murphy raced to third base putting runners on the corners. Travis d'Arnaud then got an infield single to third baseman Mike Moustakas, scoring Murphy with a nicely designed run.

In the 5th inning Curtis Granderson lined a solo HR to right field, putting the Mets up 2-1. Later in right field Granderson made a fantastic catch saving the game up to that point. In the top of the 6th, Yoenis Cespedes led off with a base hit. The Royals put another shift on Lucas Duda & he singled again, this time in a hole. Again with the shift on, Cespedes was able to take third.

Two batters later, Michael Conforto hit a sac fly to left. The strong arm of Alex Gordon could not throw out the speed of Yoenis Cespedes. The Mets went up 3-1.

As for, Matt Harvey he had settled in nicely after the 1st inning, making a great adjustment throwing more off speed stuff since the Royals seem to be waiting on fastballs. In the 2nd, two Royals reached base but were retired. Over the next three innings he retired nine straight getting him to the 6th innning.

In the 6th he ran out of gas, Ben Zobrist jumped on a first pitch & doubled to right. Lorenzo Cain singled, but Zobrist was held up at third. Eric Hosmer then hit a sac fly scoring Zobrist making it a 3-2 game. With two outs, Mike Mostakas brought in the tying run with a base hit.

Harvey exited after six innings, giving up three runs, five hits, two walks& amp; just two strike outs. The Mets bullpen did its job at first, Addison Reed pitched a perfect 7th inning.

In the 8th Juan Lagares hit a two out single & stole second base. Wilmer Flores then chopped a shot to two time Gold Glover Eric Hosmer who let the ball go off his glove into the out field. Lagares scored putting the Mets up 4-3. In the 9th the Mets had the Royals where they wanted, having a lead & the ball in Familia's hand. But Familia gave up the first HR allowed since three three months ago. The Royals tied it & went on to 14th inning win.

2015 World Series Game #5- Citi Field New York: It was do or die for the New York Mets tonight, and the dream was over, the team had truly ran out of gas. Bad fielding & no hitting lost them this world series. Terry Collins gave "the Dark Knight" Matt Harvey the ball to go up against the KC Royals.

Matt Harvey was outstanding through eight innings, putting in a valiant effort. He put the Mets on his back & said come on lets go, unfortunately they didn't give him enough support. Matt Harvey didn't allow a single until the 3rd inning then quickly erased that with a double play ball.

In the 4th, he got Citi Field fired up by striking out the side blowing away Cain, Hosmer& amp; Mostakas. In the 5th Harvey started out by striking out Salvador Perez. He then walked Alex Gordon but got the next two batters looking at third strikes. He would strike out nine Royals on the evening.

Harvey gave up singles in both the 6th & 7th innings but nothing came of them as he got ground ball outs to end the innings. He threw a strong 8th where he retired the side in order, which earned him the chance at a complete game. In the dugout as pitching Mets coach Dan Warthen came over to him, Harvey said there is no way I'm coming out of this game. Harvey then walked over to his manager & said the same thing.

Citi Field agreed as they continued their chants of "Harvey Harvey Harvey" all of America watching on TV agreed & eventually so did Terry Collins. Harvey came out for the 9th, but it was not to be. A lead off walk& amp; a Eric Hosmer double made it 2-1. Terry Collins then came out to pull Harvey, the Dark Knight left to a Citi Field standing ovation. It was a valiant effort!

Quotes: Manager Terry Collins on leaving in Harvey- "I let my heart get in the way of my gut".

For the Mets, Curtis Granderson, led off the Mets 1st inning with a HR, making it 1-0. It was his third HR of the World Series.

In the 6th the Mets got one run but blew a huge chance, as once again the bats were dead. Granderson walked, Wright singled & Murphy reached on an Eric Hosmer error. With no one out, Yoenis Cespedes fouled a ball off his knee cap, he then popped out & had to be removed from the game. Lucas Duda's sac fly was the only run the Mets produced as Granderson scored.

After Harvey exited The Royals struck again by not hitting the ball out of the infield. A grounder to Lucas Duda made it one out but the runner advanced to third.

Then came a bouncer to the left side of the infield. David Wright took, when maybe he should have let Wilmer Flores take it. Instead he checked the runner threw to first & got the out but Hosmer, , broke for home.

Lucas Duda's throw was nowhere near the plate & the Royals tied it. The Mets didnt hit again in the extra innings & in the 12th the Royals blew it open & went on to the World Series victory.

*Overall in the post season Matt Harvey pitched in four games. He was 2-0 with a 3.04 ERA. He struck out 27 batters & walked 8 in 26.2 innings of work. He allowed 21 hits, two HRs & nine earned runs overall.

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