NEW YORK—Matt Harvey will pitch against the New York Mets for the first time since he left the Mets in 2018.
Manager Brandon Hyde spoke with Harvey about his feelings about returning to Citi Field, where he pitched six seasons from 2012-2018. Later in 2018, Harvey’s new team, the Cincinnati Reds played here, but he didn’t pitch.
“Matt’s so even-keeled and level-headed that it’s hard to tell how up or down he is ever,” Hyde said. “He’s professional. I know he’s looking forward to it.”
Harvey is 3-2 with a 3.60 ERA in seven starts. On Friday, he allowed four unearned runs in four innings against the Red Sox. He made an error when he couldn’t catch a throw from second baseman Pat Valaika.
“I know he was disappointed in his last start,” Hyde said. “I thought he threw the ball well, but we didn’t catch the ball behind him. It let his pitch count get up.
“I’ve been impressed with him. He worked on his sinker in spring training, and it’s been a nice weapon for him. It’s 93, 94, and it’s got great action. He’s got the four-seamer, he’s got the sinker now. He’s getting more and more confident in his changeup, and his slider has improved since spring training, and he’s gone out and attacked hitters since the season started.”
Hyde said that he’s enjoyed having Harvey on the team.
“He was really upset after his last start because he didn’t feel like he gave the team a better chance to win,” Hyde said. “He’s a team-first guy. I felt like he did, so we disagreed about that. He’s been really fun to have. He’s been a pro in every way, and he’s been a help to the younger players. The coaching staff loves having him around, so it’s been all positives so far.”
Hyde was the Chicago Cubs’ first base coach in 2015 when they faced the Mets in the National League Championship Series.
“That is a ‘welcome to the postseason moment,’” Hyde said. The Cubs defeated the Mets in all seven games during the regular season before New York swept Chicago in four games in the NLCS.
“When Matt came out of the bullpen for first pitch, they had the ‘Dark Knight’ thing going,” Hyde said. “The whole crowd went bananas. It was about 30 degrees, probably one of the loudest stadiums I ever heard
“He’s had a lot of cool moments here. That was fun to witness. He pitched very well against us that night.”
Pedro Severino, who’s catching Tuesday night, will probably not catch Harvey on Wednesday, but he remembers in 2019 when he played against his old team, the Washington Nationals.
“Sometimes, we feel so excited because we’re facing our old team,” Severino said. “It happened to me, too, when I faced the Nationals. I wanted to be the best guy because I wanted to beat that team, not because I feel something bad about that team, but just because I want to look good.
“He’s a veteran guy. He’ll just pitch. He doesn’t have anything to show because everybody knows him. He just has to do his job.”
Hyde not excited about pitchers hitting: Before Monday’s game, John Means spoke about how he was looking forward to hitting.
“I’m really hoping he’s looking forward to bunting,” Hyde said.
Means has a hit, walk and sacrifice in his three plate appearances, which came in 2019.
“Every starting pitcher thinks they can hit,” Hyde said. “Meansy thinks he’s a really good hitter. He’s facing Marcus Stroman. I hope we have a runner at first, and he can just bunt him over, and then he jogs to first base about 40 percent.”
Harvey has lots of experience batting. He’s a lifetime .107 hitter.
Last year, the designated hitter was used, even in the games played in National League parks. The universal DH, which might return in 2022, isn’t be used this season.
Flaa claimed on waivers: Right-handed pitcher Jay Flaa, who was designated for assignment when the Orioles claimed right-hander Brandon Waddell, was claimed by Atlanta.
Flaa, who was the Orioles’ sixth-round pick in 2015, threw one scoreless inning on April 27.
Stewart better: Hyde said that J Stewart’s left hamstring has improved and that he’s available to pinch-hit.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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