clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Nationals knock Mets' starter Matt Harvey around again in 7-4 win in Nats Park

New York Mets' starter Matt Harvey struggled again as Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals took the second game of three between the NL East rivals in D.C. 7-4 final. What's next for Harvey?

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

New York Mets' starter Matt Harvey gave up eight hits, nine runs, six earned, and two walks in 2 ⅔ innings of work on the mound against the Washington Nationals last week in Citi Field.

It was another in a string of rough starts for the 27-year-old right-hander this season, and it was bad enough that the Mets asked him if he wanted to skip Tuesday night's rematch with the Nationals in the nation's capital so he could try to sort out whatever issues he's dealing with right now.

"I've never seen a young guy like that have success [and] get so booed so quickly at home, because they were booing the heck out of him in New York." -Dusty Baker on Mets fans in NY booing Matt Harvey last week

"They gave me an option to be skipped or whatnot and really try to figure things out," Harvey explained, as quoted by's Adam Rubin. "For me, taking time off isn't going to do anything. It's finding it on the mound.

"I'm not a quitter. I'm not going to just quit and put the ball down. It's a fight. It was good for me to do that."

"Nobody is more frustrated than him," Mets' skipper Terry Collins told reporters.

"He said, 'I'm not backing away from this.' A lot of guys would have taken that out. He had a shot to. He could have said, 'I need to get away from this.' But he didn't."

The outing against the Nationals left Harvey, who went deep into the postseason last season in spite of the fact that he was in his first full campaign back from Tommy John surgery, (3-6) through nine starts with a 5.77 ERA, a 3.62 FIP, 15 walks (2.79 BB/9), 43 Ks (8.01 K/9) and a .319/.372/.490 line against in 48 ⅓ innings pitched.

Nats' skipper Dusty Baker suggested before last night's game that the beating Harvey took in Citi Field last time out might just motivate the right-hander to turn things around.

After all, on Monday night veteran starter Bartolo Colon bounced back from a 4 ⅔-inning outing in which he gave up five hits, five walks and three runs in a 7-1 loss to the Nationals in Citi Field, with seven strong innings in which he gave up up just one run.

"He was 95-96 and his velocity dropped to 92-93 and his slider wasn't as sharp as he usually is." -Dusty Baker on what he saw from Matt Harvey last night

"They remember," Baker said. "You don't think that was on Colon's mind last night? They remember. You almost wish there would be two months between so they would forget. This is about as fresh as it can get in their minds. So we've got our work cut out for us tonight. It should be a heck of a ballgame with [Stephen Strasburg] and Harvey."

Strasburg gave up just one run in six innings when he matched up with Harvey in New York, earning his seventh win of the season in nine starts, over which the Nationals were 9-0.

Baker said the change of venue was one thing that could potentially make a difference for Harvey.

"He's not pitching at home," Baker explained. "I've never seen a young guy like that have success [and] get so booed so quickly at home, because they were booing the heck out of him in New York.

"I turned around and I was like shocked. They weren't even hiding booing. They were just straight booing, man."

Tuesday night in the nation's capital, Harvey get knocked around again and was done after just five innings of work in which he allowed eight hits, three of them home runs and five runs total, all earned, on 84 pitches.

"His velocity started out good," Baker said, after the Nationals' 7-4 win.

"He was 95-96 and his velocity dropped to 92-93 and his slider wasn't as sharp as he usually is. You know... you've got to get them when they're down."

Harvey reportedly left Nationals Park before speaking to reporters, but his manager said it might be time to make a decision.

"Right now, we’ve got to think not just what’s best for Matt," Collins told reporters, as quoted by New York Newsday writer David Lennon, "but what’s best for us moving forward."

Baker talked before the game about the number of struggling major leaguers he's encountered over the last couple of weeks, like Harvey, the Miami Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton, and even Bryce Harper.

He was asked what it was like for someone who was already established in the majors to struggle like the the three have this season?

"It's not my job to straight Harvey out or Giancarlo," he said, "but from a player's perspective, you don't feel love, you don't think you have any friends. It's a lonely place to be to struggle. People walk by you and hold their head down.

"They don't know what to say to you. You don't look at the newspaper. You don't look at TV. It's a very lonely place to be, but it's also a place of learning.

"Once you come out of it, then it's up to you to learn the signs when you're going back in it and the key is to try to remain as consistent as possible in your thought and your attitude.

"Try not to get too high when you're going good or try not to get too low when you're going poorly.

"Then that way there is a good chance that you will remain consistent not only in your game but in your mindset and your attitude. Cause most of it is attitude. So like I said, we've all been through it. It's a very lonely place to be."

Harvey is in a lonely place right now. Will he get out of it? Or will the Mets have to send him to a lonelier place to see if he can straighten things out?