Harvey Figures it Out

Harvey has a 2.65 ERA in last 3 starts

BUFFALO, NY - Before the season started, when Bisons' manager Wally Backman spoke about righty pitching prospect Matt Harvey, his message was simple and direct: "He's got the stuff that plays here, but he just has to has to get used to AAA." Less than one month later, it appears that he has done just that.

Harvey is 2-1 with a 4.80 ERA through six games this season, but it's his most recent three trips to the mound that have been most impressive. He is 2-0 with a 2.65 ERA in that time frame.

The adjustment to AAA hitters for Harvey has been as simple as not being fearful of the guys he's facing.

"Just attacking and not being afraid of contact has been the biggest thing," Harvey said. "That's what I've been doing the last three outings has been really pounding the zone and trying to get ahead."

That mentality has really helped Harvey limit his walks, allowing just five in his last 17 innings pitched. Although he is trying more to pitch to contact, it hasn't hampered his ability to strike guys out. Harvey has fanned 18 batters in those last 17 innings. That's not what Harvey is looking for though.

"The strikeouts are going to come," Harvey said. "I'm just pitching to contact first and trying to get deeper in the games."

He has for the most part been able to do that, having what Backman called his third straight quality start on Wednesday. He didn't reach the sixth inning to pick up the stat, having been pulled after four due to a rain delay, but Backman certainly noticed.

"The biggest growing process for [Harvey] is just showing consistency, and I think Matt has really done that," Backman said. "You take his last three starts, and you take that rain away, I still think [Wednesday] would have been a quality start.

"He's doing what I saw him do last year. He struggled early when he came to me, and then he figured it out. He figured out how to pitch to these hitters, and he made some adjustments and I think that's what he's doing right now."

With Harvey's almost immediate success at this level and the injuries on the Mets' pitching staff, there are some who are clamoring for Harvey to make his way to New York. However, Harvey has just tried to block all of that out and take the mound with no distractions.

"I think he needs to go out there and throw quality start after quality start and let him push the buttons," Backman said. "If he goes out there and does it eight of nine times in a row, it's going to make people wonder.

"I don't think it's going to happen now, I believe the organization still believes this is a learning process for him, but if you push the buttons people are going to start talking about you."

To go along with Harvey's impressive stats on the mound, he's been just as good at the plate. It's a much less important statistic for a pitcher, but Harvey has batted a solid .429 with a home run and four RBI's this season -- It appears he's figuring out Triple-A pitching just as easily as he has Triple-A batters.

If he keeps up his recent numbers on the mound, it seems to be a consensus thought in Buffalo that the Mets will have a hard time keeping him down for the whole year.

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