The Return of “The Dark Knight”

Andrew Stengel is a student in my Baseball and Statistics course at Quinnipiac University. A few weeks ago he wrote a blog on Matt Harvey’s 2013 season which ended with Tommy John Surgery causing him to miss the entire 2014 season. After submitting his blog on Matt Harvey, the Mets announced Zack Wheeler will undergo Tommy John Surgery and miss the entire 2015 season. Zack Wheeler (in 2014) joined Matt Harvey (9.3 in 2013) as the only qualified Mets starters to average above 9.0 Ks per 9 innings in the last 20 years. Before them, the last Met to do so was David Cone (1992).  Please enjoy reading Andrew’s account of Matt Harvey’s 2013 season and his return to the Mets for the 2015 season

July 16, 2013. Twenty-four year old New York Mets superstar Matt Harvey takes the mound as the starter of the All-Star Game in his home ballpark.  A full-capacity crowd of 45,186 people cheers on as Harvey dominates some of the American League’s finest. Down goes Miguel Cabrera. Down goes Jose Bautista. Down goes Adam Jones. Three strikeouts in two innings pitched. The crowd cheers as he exits. Met and baseball fans alike appreciate the raw talent that Harvey possesses, and figure that he will be a staple in this game for years to come.

Harvey continues to impress during the rest of that season. That is until August 23rd. A Saturday afternoon game on national television against Max Scherzer and the Detroit Tigers, a great matchup that FOX loved to broadcast. Harvey does not seem like himself. I remember watching this game as a freshman at Quinnipiac and noticing that something was definitely not right about Matt Harvey that day. He went about his business, fighting through 62/3 innings of tough work against a good team. He allowed 13 hits, which is very un-Harvey like. He looked uncomfortable the entire afternoon. Just two days after that start, the Mets broke the news that Harvey has a partially torn Ulnar Collateral Ligament in his pitching elbow that would require surgery. Tommy John Surgery. Just writing these words right now brings me back to that moment almost 2 years ago, where all hope and optimism “The Dark Knight” brought Queens had crashed in a blink of an eye. He would miss the entire 2014 season.

The Mets trudged through the 2014 season without much hope, finishing with a surprisingly impressive 79-83 record considering the blow that was dealt the previous August. All hope had been lost. That is, until, this past September, when the Dark Knight re-emerged at Citi Field, throwing prior to games with the rest of the team. Although he would not be pitching during the season, the spark was back.

Now that Spring Training has arrived in full swing, and Harvey is throwing regularly, the New York Mets just announced that Harvey would be taking the mound next Friday, March 6, in a Spring Training game against those same Tigers, the last team he faced back in 2013. I, as many other Met fans are as well, am extremely looking forward to seeing number 33 take the hill again. My question, actually more my concern, is this. Is Matt Harvey ready to go? Will that elbow hold up in live-game action?

I believe he will. Harvey, with a career 2.39 ERA, is as competitive as they come. As soon as he steps on the rubber for that first official start, I am confident he will be the same ace that stole the show back at the All-Star Game in 2013.

But only time will tell. What I do know is, with Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, Jonathan Niese, and Bartolo Colon, the New York Mets have an abundance of talent on the mound, and if all goes well, we will be seeing the New York Mets in October
– by Andrew Stengel

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