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Some thoughts on Matt Harvey

Folks in New York want as much information on Matt Harvey as they can get every time he pitches for the Buffalo Bisons. Of course, sometimes, I've got to stick with the game if the outcome doesn't involve Harvey very much.

Such was the case Tuesday as Harvey, the Mets'  No. 1 draft choice in 2010, pitched six innings but got a no-decision in Buffalo's 3-1 win over Columbus. My story centered on new cleanup man Matt Tuiasosopo driving in the winning run in the two-run eighth. So for those of you looking for Harvey info, especially if you reside in one of the five boroughs, here are some stats and thoughts:

---Harvey is 5-1, 3.94 in 11 starts. He's given up 54 hits in 59 1/3 innings, struck out 56 and walked 26. Opponents are batting .240 against him. Strangely, lefties are at just .207 while righties are at .263.

---Harvey still has some command issues (four walks tonight, equaling his season high set on Opening Day) and doesn't use his changeup a whole lot. His best one came in the fifth, when 2011 IL MVP Russ Canzler took a 79-mph pitch for strike three. Harvey's velocity was lower in Tuesday's start, ranging from 88-91. He did not stay in the 92-94-mph range we've seen, clearly opting for more control with less velocity. And it worked well in a 10-pitch first inning and a nine-pitch fourth.

---Talked to a couple scouts pregame and they're in agreement that Harvey will be a good major-league pitcher. Is he a future No. 1 starter? At this point, no.  But he's a solid No. 3. And if he can master secondary pitches, and use them more, there's plenty of room for him to rise up the ladder. 

---Harvey is clearly getting better as the season moves along. His ERA in April was 4.85 in five starts and opponents hit .269 against him. It was 3.24 in May in six starts and the opposing BA was just .215. And he's not finding trouble right away in innings either, as leadoff batters are just 9 for 55 (.164).

---I liked how Harvey retired nine of the next 10 hitters after walking two straight in the second inning. ""He just lost his rhythm a bit," said manager Wally Backman. "And then he seemed to fight through it and get better."

---One area of stat concern that needs more study: Harvey's ERA in innings 1-2-3 is 2.45. In innings 4-5-6, it balloons to 6.04.

---So far, the Mets are playing this one perfectly. Don't rush the guy. Get through the Mike Pelfrey opening with the Chris Schwindens,  Miguel Batistas and Jeremy Hefners of the world for as long as you can. Frankly,  I want Harvey to have a chance to pitch in the Triple-A All-Star Game in his home park. He should make at least 20 starts in Buffalo this season. Then we'll see.

---Mike Harrington

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