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Hot for Harvey: Matt Harvey impresses in Mets debut

Photo: AP

Hope in a Heater  (Photo: AP)

Anybody miss Miguel Batista last night?

Ahhhh, isn’t it nice to smile again about something, Mets fans?

What’s that? Sure, I’ll answer. HELL. YES.

Matt Harvey provided a much needed feel-good night on Thursday in Phoenix. Taking the hill for the first time as a big-leaguer, one of the Mets big-TIME pitching prospects pitched like one. The line was solid.

5.1 IP, 3H, 3BB, 11K, 0R

But this start went beyond numbers. There’s been a lot of talk about Harvey, but it’s always seemed to be sprinkled with a layer of skepticism. Good heat, but does he have the control? Are his secondary pitches good enough? Does he have the confidence yet? Sure, it’s one start, but this sure was a promising one that seemed to indicate the answers to those questions could be quite positive.

Simply put, Harvey exceeded my expectations – just from the eye test, never mind the results. I LOVE that he looks like he’s got a plan, and he goes. Once that ball is back from the pitcher, Harvey is right back on the mound and prepared to fire. That’s always a good thing for the guys behind him.

He’s a power pitcher and embraces that persona. Throw your best heat and move it around the plate. Use the secondary pitches strategically to keep hitters off balance. I think he did that wonderfully considering the circumstances (and obviously some credit to Rob Johnson and Warthen for the gameplan). With that type of approach, from a big guy, I expect he will tire and lose control a bit on the early end (regardless of whether the Mets try to “baby” him, which they will and should). Other than that, not a lot to complain about.

I’ll admit it. I saw 33 and thought about Johnny Maine. I saw a big thrower and Pelfrey at least popped into my head. Harvey didn’t look like either of those guys and, most importantly, neither did his post-game interview.

It’s easy to look composed, sound confident and appear “ready” after one stellar start. It won’t be smooth sailing for Harvey, but not a bad way to push off the dock for the Mets rookie. And it couldn’t have come at a better time.

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