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By Mike Corasaniti
I was finally lucky enough to see Matt Harvey pitch as the Mets hosted the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field on August 7.
There were some exciting moments to the night courtesy of the great seats, seeing Wilmer Flores's first hits and RBI's, and seeing an uncommon Mets win.
Although I have been able to watch him dominate all season long on television, there is nothing like seeing the control and aggressiveness that comes from a Harvey pitching performance. You could feel the electricity in the air with every strikeout Harvey tossed (he would end up finishing the night with 6) even considering that barely half of the seats at Citi Field were filled for the Wednesday evening game.
What really drove home Harvey's affect on the Mets fan base though was the drama of the final inning. At first, it was unsure if Mets fans would see Harvey come out to finish up the game. But with a 5-0 lead and only 91 pitches under his belt, Harvey trotted out to the mound to try to end it. Harvey quickly took care of the first two batters (the above video is a Dexter Fowler swing-and-miss) before Rockies left fielder Charlie Blackmon came up.
With every present Mets fan on their feet cheering for a quick finish to the game's final batter, Blackmon sent a screeching fast ball right back to the mound to hit Harvey on the knee. The noise from the crowd couldn't have left the stadium quicker.
Fortunately, Harvey was perfectly fine (or for as far as we now know) and came back to force a Troy Tulowitzi pop out to end the game. Matt Harvey finished the game with only 4 hits and 0 runs allowed over 9 innings for his first complete game shutout. Impressive, absolutely, but what will stay with me longer is just how quiet the stadium got upon the Fowler line drive hitting off Harvey's knee.
For a team and a franchise that has struggled so much in recent years, Harvey's dominance is one of the biggest rays of hope it could have asked for. Every Mets fan knows that if the Mets are to be taken seriously within the next five years, then Matt Harvey will have to be a huge part of that. And for a split second on Wednesday night, the Mets had that hope crushed with the thought of an injury to their rising star.
I don't really think that there are really any Mets fans who are taking Harvey for granted, per say, but it is nice knowing that in another down season like 2013 that a terrific performance is guaranteed at least once every five games.
But then one plunk on the knee is all it takes to drive home that for the Mets to be any sort of successful in the next few years, Matt Harvey needs to continue to be consistent, dominant, and, above all, healthy.