Tonight when the Mets Matt Harvey takes the mound at Citi Field in game 3 of the NLDS between the Dodgers and the Mets he could very well define his future as a Met and his career in general. Prior to the return of Matt Harvey this year after missing all of 2014 and the end of 2013 to Tommy John surgery Harvey had already achieved god like status. The hapless Mets looked for hope in a team that was going nowhere fast each year. Harvey provided the light at the end of the tunnel and that hope. Harvey was the lone beacon of light in dismal darkness. Fans waited patiently as he rehabbed for his return to the mound in 2015. Prior to the surgery Harvey spoke quickly and confidently about what he wanted and what his goals were. Met fans liked that. He was the definition of a gamer. Then this year there have been some missteps along the way. The biggest one being the announcement in August by Harvey’s agent Scott Boras that he wanted to shut him down in September and the playoffs due to “doctors orders” on innings limits. Boras was talking like anybody has any idea what innings pitched really means. Some innings are 10 pitches and some are 30 pitches. Nobody has figured out any real scientific numbers on what is acceptable. The biggest problem that I had with that was not so much what Boras said but what Harvey said or did not say in this case. It seemed like 48 hours went by before Harvey commented. When he did he sounded like a beaten man. “My agent is looking out for me…. He has my best interests in mind….” That sounds great but Met fans don’t really care about what the agent thinks because agents are motivated by money not really about a player helping a team win. Fans and management are motivated by performance and helping a team win. Harvey damaged is image and credibility on all fronts after this incident. Met fans have a bad taste in their mouths right now regarding Matt Harvey.
Now Matt Harvey, the “Dark Knight Light” must take the mound and attempt to put the Mets in a position where they can close out the Dodgers tomorrow and advance to the NLCS. The goal for Harvey tonight is not to start hitting players in retaliation for Chase Utley breaking Ruben Tejada’s leg on a dirty take out slide at second base in game 2 on Saturday. The goal is to pitch 8 innings and give the ball to Familia. A year ago I would have told you that Matt Harvey will never be booed at Citi Field ever! Today I am not so sure about that. His image has taken a hit with Met fans and that was compounded when he missed a team workout before the playoffs started under very murky circumstances. There is only one way for Harvey to get back to being the “Dark Knight”. He has to pitch well and the Mets have to win. Anything less than a great performance would be a disaster for Harvey. He put himself in this position so I for one have no sympathy for him. If you want to be the main man you have to perform at key times. Curt Schilling and Andy Pettite come to mind. It is time for Matt Harvey to have his defining moment in his career and the Met’s need it tonight more than ever. My gut tells me he will be up for the task. If Harvey falters it could alter his Met career dramatically.