PHILADELPHIA — For his latest trick, Matt Harvey not only pitched successfully to more contact, but also made some himself.
By this stage of his short and brilliant 26-game Major League career, Harvey’s double up the right-center-field gap to key a three-run Mets fifth inning was the more startling achievement of his rain-shortened six scoreless innings Sunday, but by no means the more impressive.
Harvey, coming off a 13-strikeout performance in Atlanta, fanned six and allowed only two hits during the Mets’ 8-0 victory before manager Terry Collins decided not to send his phenom back out following a 20-minute rain delay in the top of the seventh. But the kid, who moved his record to 7-1 and lowered his ERA to 2.05, had brought plenty of swing-and-miss stuff when needed, striking out Domonic Brown twice with 100- and 99-mph high fastballs during the only two Phillies threats of the game.
“I think you will see 100 [mph] at times, don’t think you will see it every inning,” said Collins. “Matt knows those six-pitch innings when you get fly balls and ground balls, those really count to get you through the season, instead of trying to get 250 strikeouts.”
There is a time and a place. And it was not a good time to be in Ben Revere’s place when Harvey, who had surrendered a Ryan Howard single to start the second, blew a 100-mph fastball through Revere’s wheelhouse to end the threat.
“Yeah, I let that one go,” Harvey smiled.
The Mets, who had rallied from a 7-1 deficit to tie Saturday’s game in the ninth, only to lose on Kevin Frandsen’s walk-off homer, picked their broken hearts off the ground with ease Sunday, knowing who was going to the hill for them.
“I thought the [Phillies] might be in trouble when the first pitch of the game is a curveball for a strike,” said David Wright. “I saw the look on Jimmy Rollins’ face and then looked into their bench.