If Matt Harvey’s career is finished sooner rather than later, his two starts against the Mets this season will likely have helped deliver the knockout punch.
BALTIMORE — If Matt Harvey’s career is finished sooner rather than later, his two starts against the Mets this season will likely have helped deliver the knockout punch.
Last month, the Mets took batting practice against the former Dark Knight over 4 ¹/₃ innings, and Wednesday night the bash session was condensed even further. The Mets hammered their one-time ace for seven earned runs over three innings in a 14-1 victory over the Orioles at Camden Yards.
The Mets blasted six homers, a season-high. Kevin Pillar and Billy McKinney each went deep twice and Pete Alonso and Mason Williams also homered.
Harvey surrendered two of those homers as part of his brutal night and saw his ERA jump to 7.41. Over his last six appearances, beginning with that outing at Citi Field on May 12 (in which he also allowed seven earned runs), he has pitched to a 14.19 ERA after a solid start to the season.
“He’s still got really good stuff,” Pillar said. “He’s got multiple pitches — we just did a really good job of making him throw the ball over the middle of the plate. I think guys did a good job of laying off the pitches on the edge, even if they were for strikes and not worrying about getting deep in counts and just really trying to attack the middle of the plate.”
The Mets (30-24) rebounded from an ugly loss a night earlier in which David Peterson scuffled and will begin a seven-game homestand Friday against the Padres and Cubs. On the road trip, which also included stops in Arizona and San Diego, they finished 5-4. The Mets lead the NL East by 3 ½ games and reached the one-third mark of their season on pace for 90 victories.
“It’s something that is really never discussed,” Pillar said. “I saw a stat the other day that said we have held first place for over a month. With everything that’s been going on [with injuries] it doesn’t necessarily feel like that all the time, as far as feeling like we’re a first-place team.”
Harvey was toast after a third inning in which the Mets sent eight batters to the plate and scored five runs. Pillar’s three-run homer was the inning’s most significant hit. The blast was Pillar’s first since returning from the injured list on May 31, after sustaining a broken nose when he was hit in the face by a pitch. Pillar celebrated the homer by raising his right arm as he rounded second base.
“It’s been a couple years now of being really horses–t,” Harvey said. “And it’s frustrating. The amount of work that I’m putting in between starts.”
Jonathan Villar began the rally with a leadoff double and Alonso’s one-out single put runners on the corners. James McCann and McKinney delivered consecutive RBI singles to give the Mets a 4-1 lead before Pillar launched a 94-mph fastball into the left-field seats for three runs.
Alonso smashed a two-run homer in the first inning. The blast was Alonso’s fourth in his last three games at this ballpark, dating to last season. Before the game Alonso was asked how many homers he would hit if he played all his home games at Camden Yards.
“As many as anywhere else,” he said. “Because if I hit them, they will go out. I don’t care if I am playing in Yellowstone, they will go out.”
McKinney blasted the Mets’ third homer of the night, a solo shot in the fifth against Adam Plutko, extending the lead to 8-1. Pillar and Williams hit consecutive homers in the eighth to continue the onslaught. Alonso stroked an RBI double in the ninth before McKinney unloaded with a three-run homer. The blast was his fourth since joining the Mets on May 26.
Taijuan Walker was handed a 7-1 lead in the third inning and cruised through the Orioles. The right-hander’s only blemish was a first inning in which he allowed three hits — one of which hit off McKinney’s glove in right field — including an RBI single to Ryan Mountcastle.
Over seven innings, Walker allowed one earned run on five hits with nine strikeouts and one walk. The right-hander lowered his ERA to 2.07. The Mets signed Walker to a two-year contract worth $20 million late in the offseason.
“He’s been a lot better than I expected,” manager Luis Rojas said. “He’s done so much for us.”
This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Mike Puma