Matt Harvey is not happy with his performance, wants to be better

Michael Baron, Contributor

In last night’s 4-3 loss to the Marlins, Matt Harvey allowed a run with two walks and seven strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.

Harvey threw a career-high 121 pitches before being removed after allowing a one out single to Justin Ruggiano in the sixth inning.

Matt Harvey 1 polaroid“I found my fastball was going over the middle a little bit too much tonight,” Harvey explained. “I wasn’t able to locate everything as well as I wanted to. Coming out with one run is ok. Obviously I don’t like being ok.”

Bobby Parnell blew his second save of the season in the ninth inning, keeping Harvey from joining Dwight Gooden and Pedro Martinez as the only pitchers to go 5-0 in April in club history.

“That’s not OK throwing that many pitches in that little amount of innings,” Harvey said. “Obviously, I have to regroup and go back and watch some video and figure out how to change that and go seven or eight innings next time.”

Harvey finished April with a 1.56 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 40 innings.

First off, that quote from Harvey is awesome. He knows he struggled and didn’t have it, but as usual, anything less than being the best out there is 100 percent unacceptable to him. That’s an intangible which cannot be taught — that’s his nature and a very special trait for a ballplayer to have.

This was a game Harvey had to battle right from the beginning. He had little command of his fastball — it was either right down the middle or he couldn’t get it over at all. The Marlins had some very good swings against him and were able to get on-base routinely against him. That, and his inability to put hitters away resulted in a very high pitch count seemingly right from the start. He did have good control of his breaking pitches and had some wicked movement on his slider in particular, but it’s difficult to get ahead of hitters using those pitches as his primary weapons. But, his ability to routinely miss bats allowed him to limit the damage. Of course, it helps when he’s facing a team which has one legitimate weapon in Giancarlo Stanton, and the results might have been different against a more dynamic lineup.

Still, last night was impressive. Harvey turned to his slider to get outs. He could have easily stuck with his fastball and tried to get a feel for it. Instead, he was trying to find a way with the rest of his repertoire. Despite the battle and the pitch count, he gave the team the opportunity to win this game. This isn’t a kid who cares about the individual awards, or the amazement of high strikeout totals, or even the fame and glory which he has really earned in the early part of his career. He cares only about winning, and last night showed how tough he truly is out there and that he will not go down without leaving everything out there. That’s the sign of a professional, mature and educated player. Perhaps last night’s start will serve as one of Harvey’s greatest growing experiences going forward…