Mets Game 99: Win Over Diamondbacks

Mets 3 Diamondbacks 1

The Matt Harvey Era has begun.

Mets Game Notes

Matt Harvey: I love his mechanics — very tight, simple, efficient. It looks like he’s throwing out of a phone booth, which is exactly what I teach. Dare I say, he reminds me just a little bit of Tom Seaver? Maybe that’s too big a statement, but he displayed many features that caused that comparison; specifically: an assured confidence, without cockiness; pounding a 95+ MPH fastball in all four quadrants of the strike zone, and using it as a strikeout pitch; showing a hard overhand curve as his main secondary pitch; solid, efficient, consistent mechanics (minus the ridiculous and power-sapping drop and drive); displaying all-around athleticism; showing no fear, and keeping his cool.

Maybe I’m over-excited, but I really like what I saw of the young righthander, and looking forward to what he’ll show in the future. No doubt, he’s going to take his lumps, but if nothing else, Harvey has shown that he has Major League skills and traits that suggest he could be a front-of-the-rotation starter.

I didn’t notice the first time the Mets faced the D-backs, but there are a few Arizona hitters who hold their bat behind their back shoulder, with the barrel dropped down toward their backside — a la Fred Patek. Not sure why, as it seems like a setup that only adds complication and length to the swing. It’s sort of unusual to see that from one player, but two on the same team? That’s just weird.

Next Mets Game

Game two of the series begins at 9:40 p.m. on Friday night. Jonathon Niese faces Josh Collmenter.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. James July 27, 2012 at 6:35 am
    The new Tom Seaver? I don’t know. But he was unbeliveable, best Mets debut since Dr K. If Edgin and Parnell and Harvey and Dickey pitch well the rest of the year, the Mets can finish over 500 which is the goal now.
    • James July 27, 2012 at 6:36 am
      And Francisco. I believe that these 5 pitchers will pitch well with the exception of Parnell whom I have absolutely no faith in.
      • Steve S. July 27, 2012 at 11:52 am
        That’s still not much of a bullpen–even with Parnell pitching OK as setup guy. Unfortunately, there’s not much in the minors to help–maybe Familia in the pen?
  2. Izzy July 27, 2012 at 7:18 am
    Harvey gets an A. The Met front office gets another F. They declared him not ready and just think, a little iinfusion of talent and youth with talent mught have stopped the swoon before it ruined the season. Congrats Harvey!. Time for Alderson and his gang to go.
    • Joe July 27, 2012 at 9:11 am
      Part of this was to have him start on the road and at the right time and it seems to have turned out nicely. Who is to know how he would have pitched before today?
      • Walnutz15 July 27, 2012 at 9:29 am
        ……….especially to either of Thole (or should we say, Warthen – since he calls the games) or Nickeas.
        • derek July 27, 2012 at 10:03 am

          have u played sports?

          i mean you listen to what the front office says so literally…have you managed a team of players before? your not there every day to see work ethic, body language, etc…its all about putting players in positions to succeed not making knee jerk reactions, like we have in the past…

          who do you want in charge? who would be doing a better job rt now?

        • Steve S. July 27, 2012 at 11:54 am
          I agree. I think they called him up at just the right time. I particularly like that he had four good pitches, and doesn’t have to “develop” on totally in the majors. The changeup wasn’t bad, and should get better–and that’s his 4th pitch.
    • TomTerrific July 27, 2012 at 11:47 am
      Can we please calm down with blasting the front office for waiting on Harvey? Given the state of the rotation a couple of weeks back–for the Johan and Gee injuries–keeping him down was the right thing to do. Their only mistake was waiting a week or two too long to bring him up and what did that cost the team? Perhaps one or two losses? Now’s the right time and it’s likely he’ll never go back down again.
    • Joe Janish July 27, 2012 at 5:28 pm
      Izzy, I’m usually in agreement with you but in this case it worked out as perfectly as anyone could have hoped, so it’s hard for me to suggest that an earlier call-up would have definitely been a better plan — especially since Wally Backman repeatedly said that Harvey wasn’t quite ready just yet. At the same time, I don’t think anyone should give credit to the front office for being “smart” for making the decision now — they more or less were pushed into it based on the injuries and the team’s plunge.

      Further, I don’t believe anything was going to prevent the swoon — this is a terribly flawed team and the house of cards was long overdue to fall.

  3. Walnutz15 July 27, 2012 at 7:19 am
    My biggest concern with Harvey would have been a Saturday start vs. the Dodgers – at home, trying to over-throw.

    We’ve already seen that he’s got alotta giddy-up…..but really – he looked composed, and handled himself very well. (Not only on the hill, but with the press – giving various interviews. Definitely not a deer in the headlights, like John Maine and Pelfrey were sometimes, in giving quotes.)

    Overall, I they did a nice job with slotting him into the rotation, as comfortably as they could have (and bringing Johnson up with him – to caddy, while casting Nickeas off to Buffalo after having seen all they needed to from him to this point in the year).

    As impressed as I was with Harvey cranking it up to 98mph, his work with the stick looked better than half of our lineup — lol

    Good for the keed. I’m not getting ahead of the expectation curve, like many others will — but here’s to many more quality starts……gonna be very hard to top!

  4. Walnutz15 July 27, 2012 at 7:25 am
    Great quote from Ronnie Darling last night:

    “Triple A stinks. It’s a lot of old players who are bitter, and a lot of young players who think they’re great but they’re not.”

    I chuckled.

  5. DaveSchneck July 27, 2012 at 8:51 am
    Obviously a great debut by Harvey, so kudos to him, Johnson for supporting, and the Mets mgmt, yes, even them, for finding a good place to slot him in. I’m sure all the outings won’t be as good as last night, but he did show that he belongs. Even though he is some 300+ wins behind, Harvey did have a Seaveresque way about him, both physically and mentally. His command definitely needs some refinement but despite reports of a “straight” FB, he had excellent movement last night.
    • Walnutz15 July 27, 2012 at 8:53 am
      Still think Harvey will take a few lumps, as he attempts to refine his off-speed stuff at the Major League-level…but it’s refreshing to see a young buck come in, and challenge Big League hitters to hit his fastball.

      Looks like he definitely throws a heavy ball — and he was born with testicles.

      ……which is a plus.

  6. Joe July 27, 2012 at 9:10 am
    Darling made Edgin a major part of the story. The Mets blew some games lately because of pen especially Ramirez unable to go beyond one inning & his five outs were key.
  7. MikeT July 27, 2012 at 9:45 am
    Joe, I really enjoyed watching your tweets throughout the game. Do you think the “ridiculous drop and drive” will hurt him in the end? Didn’t Seaver do that to great success? This is why I come to your blog, learn me sensei.

    As for the team and night as a whole: nice win and great to have something positive to look at again. Can they use this to start winning again? The bullpen has been a problem all year, and the offense has had its lulls, but as long as the starting pitching is fantastic they can win regardless. I would not bet on that, however. Still, a change here and there to the bullpen or hitters getting hot again could result in a few wins. Perhaps just enough to make the team tolerable the rest of the way. 2013 might be fun…

    • Joe Janish July 27, 2012 at 10:55 am
      Mike, thanks for following the tweets – glad you enjoy them.

      Yes, Seaver — and Koosman — put together incredibly successful, long careers using the drop and drove style. I’ve been studying and researching the drop and drive mechanics for over 20 years, consulting with every type of biomechanical / kiniesiology expert I’ve been lucky enough to meet. The scientific answer is loud and clear: such a motion isn’t necessarily harmful, but it’s definitely not helpful toward pitching a baseball. By collapsing the back leg, the pitcher loses the benefit of leverage/gravity and also loses kinetic energy going forward — it goes down into the ground. I’ve had several scientists tell me that Seaver likely would have thrown with even more velocity had he not dropped his back knee, because he was disrupting and inhibiting forward momentum, instead sending at least some of his power straight into the dirt.

      If there is a benefit to getting the right knee dirty mid-motion, there is no science to prove it. So, Seaver and Koosman succeeded in spite of, rather than because of, the drop and drive method.

  8. derek July 27, 2012 at 11:30 am
    as far as harvey’s mechanics go….just as long as when his front foot lands he is in the power position and doesnt have arm lag and can repeat that motion, it doesnt matter what his wind up looks like…and from still frames last night it looked that way…

    i wouldnt teach my kid to stand like julio franco or craig counsell…but when they r ready to make contact with ball in hitting zone they r in perfect hitting form for most part…

    every player is differ and last thing we want is for all our guys in minors to all look the same like organizational robots…

    it didnt seem that he has too crazy of a drop and drive portion to his mechanics..remember he is a big guy too at 6-4….so his body is gonna drop some due to his size and physics

    years ago it was “drop and drive” then went to “tall and fall” in the 90s….

    even guys with perfect mechanics get hurt…only time will tell….

    • Joe Janish July 27, 2012 at 12:22 pm
      Agreed on power position, aka where the ball should be upon “foot strike,” and agreed on the Julio Franco / hitting comparison — to a point. Yes that moment in the motion is one of the most crucial, but there are still things that can go wrong from there. If a pitcher completely collapses his back leg and adds other harmful actions, then they need to be corrected. Look at Chris Young’s atrocious delivery (which has resulted in a similarly atrocious medical record).

      Also, with hitting, there is very little chance of one injuring himself if he has flaws in his swing. With pitching, there is GREAT risk to the arm when throwing with poor mechanics.

      As for “perfect mechanics,” there aren’t many who have them, but those that are/were close, enjoyed long careers. I.e., Nolan Ryan, Greg Maddux, Seaver.

      Harvey doesn’t have much of a drop and drive; that was a mysterious observation by Ron Darling during the telecast, and I called him out on it on twitter. More to the point, I don’t want people starting to think about drop and drive, because it’s something that shouldn’t be taught.

      • derek July 27, 2012 at 12:39 pm
        right joe no one has perfect mech….

        was more or less sayn that harvey is a good athlete seems to be able to repeat his motion…and there isnt anything glaring about his mechanics..

        as far as young goes…i played against him in college and with in pro ball…and his mechanics are yes awful…but that really is what helps him as a pitcher….he is so big and awkward he is so hard to hit…his stuff is not over powering nor is it nasty…his mechanics make it very difficult to hit…cause u have no idea where ball is coming from…i would bet if he had a smooth polish delivery with his stuff…he wouldnt be in the big leagues…

  9. Paul Festa July 27, 2012 at 11:34 am
    I agree – he’s compact and smooth. It will be interesting to see how the league adjusts to him, and how he adjusts back. He has great raw stuff, needs to work on his command, but there’s a lot of potential here.
  10. jerseymet July 27, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Darling was thrilled that Harvey was throwing inside to right handed hitters. What do you think of the game that was called and Johnson’s catching?

    • Joe Janish July 27, 2012 at 5:22 pm
      I was pleased with the way Johnson handled Harvey in terms of pitch calling, location, setup behind the plate, establishing and keeping quick tempo, and keeping Harvey “locked in.”

      If I had any criticism, it was Johnson’s inability to handle the tough pitches in the dirt. But that’s being nitpicky, and I imagine part of that was Harvey over-throwing on occasion (adrenalin), and the pitches acting in a way Johnson was not used to from previous games catching him.

      There’s NO WAY that Harvey pitches as well as he did with Thole or Nickeas behind the plate.

  11. Micalpalyn July 27, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    ‘an assured confidence, without cockiness; pounding a 95+ MPH fastball in all four quadrants of the strike zone..”

    One of the keys was ROB JOHNSON. When was the last time a Met pitcher threw inside? Would Harvey have had the inner half of the plate if thole was catching….I say no. And you wonder why the Mets wanted a catcher. Thole’s bat has given him the edge but guys I think THOLE is just as much a tradeable asset (to a team that teaches better receiving skills)…as Danny Murphy. post is a thank you to Rob Johnson for his contribution to Matt Harvey’s night. Hopefull He can lift up Thole (spot him extra days off), and the rest of the staff…who need it. Maybe Beato wont have to apologise anymore.

    • Joe Janish July 27, 2012 at 5:22 pm
      So, do you think Johnson had an “impact” ?


  12. jerseymet July 27, 2012 at 5:33 pm
    Lets hope Johnson can inspire the staff. It has been so tough to watch.
  13. Nick Waldrop July 27, 2012 at 5:46 pm
    I know this has been brought up before, but Parnell’s inning was stunning. For the hitters he faced to just foul off 97mph fastball after fastball was unbelievable. Would it be better for him to have a cut fastball to maybe get some swings and misses? All I saw was a curveball, hitters can let that go and just sit on the fastball, if he had a different speed fastball maybe that would help? There has to be something he can do, because that inning was alarming…