Mets get amazing Harvey debut, then go right on losing

Havery’s incredible debut
Thursday night gave the Mets some hope for the future, as 2010 first round pick Matt Harvey’s major league debut went better than anyone could have imagined. The rookie became the first player in the modern era to strike out 10 or more batters while recording two hits of his own in an MLB debut. All told, Harvey struck out 11 batters in five and one-third shutout innings while allowing three hits and three walks in New York’s 3-1 win over Arizona.

“We knew [Harvey] threw hard; we knew he had a hard slider,” [third baseman Ryan] Wheeler said. “The changeup, I mean, I’d seen one changeup in the [triple-A] All-Star Game and it wasn’t good, and today his changeup seemed to be on. So that was the best I could do on a scouting report. The only thing we knew was that he had a really good arm, and he showed that today.”

Scott Hairston knocked in a pair with a double in the first inning, and Rob Johnson hit a sac fly to take advantage of Andres Torres’ triple in the fourth.

The only bad news about this game is that some irrational fans might expect Harvey to do this in every start. I’d be surprised if he pitched another game like this all season. That said, the 11 strikeouts seems to show that Harvey’s stuff translates over to the big leagues, so you have to at least view him as a high-ceiling guy for the time being.

Friday night’s debacle
The Mets came right back down to earth last night with an 11-5 loss to the Diamondbacks. Jon Niese made an absolutely ridiculous error in the second innings that allowed Arizona to take a 6-2 lead. The Mets bounced back with a David Wright three-run homer in the third, but Snakes starter Josh Collmenter settled down while Jon Niese and Elvin Ramirez gave up enough runs to make Arizona comfortable.

The Mets seem pretty much doomed this season, but New York Daily News writer John Harper wants to trade Daniel Murphy for bullpen help. One of the guys that Harper mentions, Luke Gregerson, is pretty darn good. He’s also under contract for a couple more years, but the problem in Harper’s argument comes from him criminally underrating Murphy.

Even if Valdespin couldn’t handle second, the Mets could be OK there with Justin Turner and Ronny Cedeño.
As for Murphy, although he has hit only three home runs, he does have 30 doubles and 46 RBI, and would seem to be a good fit in the American League.

First of all, no one is “OK” with Justin Turner and Ronny Cedeño at second base. Murphy’s OPS this season is .773 (pretty good for second base). Turner is at .659 despite all the “clutch” hits and Cedeño’s is .726, but that’s much higher than his career mark of .643.

Second, since when are doubles only good in the American League? I don’t get it. Do they count for two-and-a-half bases there?

Valdespin has great talent, but right now he swings at everything, and it’s unclear whether he’ll ever be more than a utility guy who strikes out a lot. I don’t care how many pinch hit home runs Valdespin hits this season; the fact that he’s never slugged over .500 in the minors makes this power surge seem like a fluke.

Despite the allure of a decent bullpen pitcher, it’s easier to fine relief arms both in free agency and in one’s own minor league system than it is to find a second baseman with as sweet a swing as Murphy’s. I know doubles don’t count as much in the National League, but how many does Murphy have to hit before people realize he’s part of the solution and not part of the problem?

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