The Matt Harvey chatter will overwhelm the game most nights he pitches for the Buffalo Bisons.
Such was the case Wednesday at Coca-Cola Field as the Herd beat the Syracuse Chiefs, 5-2, in a game that saw the New York Mets' top pitching prospect not figure in the decision because he was pulled after four innings due to a 23-minute rain delay.
About 500 fans saw the Bisons lash three triples in the game. They won it with a three-run fourth and solid relief work by winner Justin Hampson (three innings, one hit).
But the latest Harvey update is what resonates all the way to New York, where fans and the media wonder if they might see the No. 1 draft pick from 2010 in the rotation now that Mike Pelfrey is down for the year with Tommy John surgery. Chris Schwinden has come up from Buffalo and laid back-to-back eggs, including Wednesday's 8-1 loss in Houston.
Still, manager Terry Collins said over the weekend in Denver that Harvey and fellow Bison starter Jeurys Familia are here for most of the season. And Sportsnet New York analyst and ex-Mets pitcher Ron Darling said, "Don't you dare touch them yet" when asked about them Wednesday.
Harvey had a 2.08 ERA and 15 strikeouts in winning his last two starts, both on the road. He was decent but not dominant Wednesday, giving up two runs on three hits, striking out three and walking two. He threw 68 pitches, 36 strikes, and had a fastball in the 92-93 mph range.
"It was OK, not my best but I battled through some stuff," Harvey said. "I felt pretty good. My body felt great, the ball was coming out of my hand pretty good and I was able to throw strikes for the most part."
Both runs against him came on two-out hits, Carlos Rivero's RBI double in the second and Mark Teahen's run-scoring single in the third.
"I thought he threw the ball extremely well," said manager Wally Backman. "He gave up those two runs but he settled in, was throwing strikes. I think it was a positive."
Harvey even helped his own cause again with a 390-foot sacrifice fly in the third to get Buffalo even at 2-2. When the rain struck in the fourth, Harvey was up with runners at the corners. He never got the chance to drive them in as Backman said the Mets will not let pitchers stay in a delayed game after two innings.
"I obviously didn't want to come out of the game but I can't make that decision," Harvey said. "Wally felt that was best."
Harvey said he's trying to keep an even keel in preparing for each outing but is aware there's a lot more external noise in Triple-A.
"You really do everything you can to not pay attention to it," Harvey said. "It's there so I'm not going to completely try to avoid it. You can bring it in a little and use it as fire to succeed and do the best I can."
"Matt just needs to throw quality start after quality start," Backman said. "If he goes out there and does that eight or nine times in a row, it's going to make people wonder and think. But I don't think [a callup] is going to happen right now. It's still a learning process."
The Pitch: Johnson's RBI triple, Herd's third three-bagger of night, snaps 2-2 tie in fourth. ... Hampson throws three shutout innings of relief to get win. ... Harvey goes four innings, pulled after 23-minute rain delay.
Fast fact: With the win, the Bisons took a 115-114 edge over Syracuse in the all-time series since rejoining the IL in 1998.
Next game: Tonight vs. Syracuse, 6:05 p.m.