Originally posted on MetsZilla  |  Last updated 8/11/12

New York Mets rookie right-hander Matt Harvey made his Citi Field debut on Friday night against the Atlanta Braves and after a shaky start, the 23-year-old turned in a solid effort.  He worked six innings while striking out three, allowing just two earned runs on two hits and five walks. The five walks mark a career high for Harvey who has now suffered three-straight losses and walked 12 batters over his first four starts.

Michael Bourn welcomed Harvey into the Braves/Mets rivalry with a nine-pitch lead off walk to start the game.  Two batters later, the centerfielder trotted home when Jayson Heyward greeted the rookie with a two-run bomb on a 94 mph fastball to give Atlanta a 2-0 lead they would not relinquish. The 23-year-old rookie eventually needed 52 pitches to complete the first two frames. and with another 16 pitches in the third, a short outing seemed all but certain.  But Harvey battled. And after a leadoff double by Braves catcher David Ross in the fourth, he settled down and began to resemble the starter who fanned 11 during his Major League debut. The Mets first selection in the 2010 player draft — seventh overall — retired the next nine batters he faced, needing just 33 pitches over his final three frames.

“It was definitely a battle. Coming out and walking five guys in the first three innings, that’s the last thing you want to do. You never want to come out and give up two runs in the first inning and throw 30-something pitches, either. I did everything I could to figure it out as quick as possible. I was fortunate enough to keep the team in sort of winning distance. But like I’ve said in the past, I don’t like to lose and I don’t like to give up runs. Tonight, I didn’t do my job very well.”

 

Overall, I felt Harvey pitched well; especially from innings three through six.  He battled through command issues early and kept the Mets within striking distance against a good Braves team. While Harvey may have been a bit hard on himself, manager Terry Collins was happy with what he saw.

“I was very impressed with the fact that after he battled through the first two innings, he really settled down and started just making pitches. It looked like he relaxed a little bit and just settled into a nice, easy groove. I was very impressed, especially after the second inning.”

Over his first four Major League starts, the rookie is sporting a respectable 3.63 ERA with  26 strikeouts over 22 1/3 innings of work:

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