On Wednesday night, Matt Harvey was what Rick Vaughn wanted to be at the beginning of Major League II. Vaughn didn't want to depend on the strikeout, and he got shelled. But that was just a movie. Matt Harvey is better than a movie. And he showed it against the Colorado Rockies with his first major league complete game shutout ... a 5-0 shutout which only took 106 pitches and six strikeouts to go along with 14 ground ball outs.
Harvey can be Dwight Gooden. But tonight he was Aaron Cook, and still dominated. Not even a shot up the middle on pitch 100 that hit Harvey in his knee couldn't stop him from being his terrific self. Think about it: Not even David Wright could survive a visit from the reaper: Ray Ramirez. Harvey brushes off the living breathing threat of a walking boot like it was nothing, and finished the game. The man isn't human. I mean ... what other platitudes can you give to this young man except to say the following: If this game signals his evolution into a pitcher who can beat you with ground balls as well as by strikeouts? If he can go Gooden and Cook on an unsuspecting group of lumber wielders? It might as well be over for the rest of the National League unless they all decide to put on Marlins uniforms during Harvey starts. (Instead of "throwback", they'll throw south.)
Wednesday's game also became the true introduction to Wilmer Flores, as his three run double provided the insurance that Harvey needed after RBI hits by Omar Quintanilla and John Buck (who is apparently married to Bonnie from Family Guy) started the Mets off. Flores seems to already have a following in the stands.
Even got the right number and everything.
It will be very interesting to see how Flores does the rest of the way, and how his performance will affect 2014. He's not getting third base. He has outgrown shortstop like John Kruk outgrew many a Phillies jersey. And the day he's in the outfield is the day that the Mets lose every other outfielder in their system because of an alien attack. That leaves two positions: First base and second base. Ike Davis has an OPS of 1.075 in the past two weeks (since July 22nd), although it was .515 before that this year. So can Flores force the Mets to non-tender Ike? Will Ike Davis force the Mets to non-tender Ike? If Ike tears it up, does Daniel Murphy go on the trading block so Wilmer can play second base? Can Wilmer play second base? Does his bat project enough so that you could overlook some nonsense in the field at second base? Will he eat Omar Quintanilla and outgrow every position on the field? All questions to be answered in the next two months, because there can't be room for everybody.
One player there seems to be no more room for is Lucas Duda. Duda finished up his rehab assignment and ... much like Ruben Tejada, was optioned to Las Vegas. Duda, while not calling anybody a c***-sucker in front of Sandy Alderson, did not take the news well.
A person who spoke to Duda termed him as "pissed" - says the Mets had told him he would return to majors after rehab assignment.
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) August 7, 2013
Look, Lucas. It's not you. It's ... no wait, it's you. We're dumping you for a model ... a faster model named Eric Young Jr. who wasn't around when you were leaving us for the glamorous life of rehabilitation. And there's nowhere else for you to go, unless you count Houston as an acceptable destination. So, work hard and we'll see you in September. And know that you couldn't possibly be more pissed off right now than I had been last season on a regular basis watching you play the outfield. Or taking a called strike three.
But let's not overlook the big picture. Even with this season being a wash and David Wright out for a while, things are looking up for the future. Matt Harvey is Matt Harvey. Zach Wheeler is improving. Wilmer Flores is getting a look. And the Phillies, who are now behind the Mets in the standings, just gave a 35-year-old second baseman $27 million dollars with not one ... but multiple vesting options! Multiple!!! Oh Ruben Amaro, keep being you. Better yet, keep being Omar Minaya. Hey speaking of, Francisco Rodriguez is a free agent after this year. He can team up with Papelbon and you can have the Bullpen of the Century. Go ahead ... it'll be fun, I promise.