A fierce storm pounded my neighborhood last night, violent enough to merit watching from my stoop under cover of the doorway. Rain pounded the street and sidewalk and kicked up so much mist that even the few parts of the air that weren’t occupied by raindrops seemed still somehow full of rain. Lightning strobe-lit the sky in sharp bolts and dull bursts. Thunder cracked… thunderously.
By an hour later when I walked to the grocery store, the streets were still quiet in the storm’s aftermath but the rain had subsided to a haphazard drizzle. I got home, made a sandwich, and sat down to watch Matt Harvey pitch.
Let’s talk about the weather: The Mets got caught out in an awful tempest after the All-Star Break, a storm like the one a couple years ago that dropped a tree into my parents’ living room and forced me to drive a half-mile in reverse on the pitch-black Taconic Parkway. Johan Santana and Dillon Gee went on the disabled list, David Wright hicupped for the first time this season and the team’s offense stagnated, the bullpen sucked to new lows, Lucas Duda got demoted, pitchers called out catchers, Terry Collins called out pitchers. Everything went wrong. Cats and dogs, you know.
Then Matt Harvey pitched.
Harvey probably isn’t all the Mets need to get through this. He’ll probably allow some runs this year, and he probably won’t strike out more than two batters an inning. At some point, even if he proves a clear upgrade over the Mets’ other options and a capable Major League starter, he’ll probably show some evidence why some scouts insisted he wasn’t quite ready for the show. Hell, he probably won’t wind up the best pitcher in Major League history, and he probably won’t lead the Mets to a rash of World Series dominance.
But we don’t have any Major League evidence to suggest otherwise just yet, so we can revel for these next few days in undaunted hope. And even if we’re willing to be reasonable about it and accept right now that he probably isn’t all of those things, we can see the obvious signs of a strong big-league pitcher: a blazing fastball, a biting slider, a heartbreaking curveball. And we can imagine a near future with R.A. Dickey, Harvey and Jon Niese cementing the Mets’ rotation and recognize how it might become a strength. And then, holy hell, Zack Wheeler’s supposed to be better?
Even if the addition of Harvey isn’t enough to reverse the fortunes of the 2012 Mets, last night he established himself as must-see material, a reason to watch and dream on the Mets. 2012 was always supposed to be about 2013 and 2014 anyway, and now we better understand why.