PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — On April 3, Matt Harvey will stand on the mound in Kansas City and throw the first pitch in what may be the most highly anticipated season in the history of the Mets.
Until then, he’s got some work to do.
Harvey labored through his fourth spring training appearance Thursday. He never looked to be in command of his arsenal in the Mets’ 8-5 loss to the Astros.
“Everything was just a little out of whack,” he said. “I think mechanically, I have to kind of go back and watch some film tomorrow and figure out what was going on. A little awkward today.”
The Astros pelted Harvey for six runs and seven hits in three innings. He also walked four and struck out two. He threw 85 pitches, but building up his pitch count might have been the only positive.
According to scouts, Harvey’s fastball sat in the range of 94 to 97 mph, disputing the lower velocity readings shown on the television broadcast. But while he flashed his typical velocity, he showed none of his trademark command.
Not all of the results could be traced directly back to Harvey.
Just as he did with Harvey on the mound in Game 1 of the World Series, Yoenis Cespedes misplayed a drive to centerfield. This time he turned A.J. Reed’s double into an inside-the-park homer. Cespedes gave up on the ball, waiting for umpires to rule it dead because he contended that it was wedged at the base of the fence.
Still, Harvey didn’t help himself, missing his spots throughout his three erratic innings. He even forced in a run with a bases-loaded walk to George Springer, part of a three-run second.
In the three-run third, Harvey allowed a run-scoring double and two-run triple. He departed down 6-0, then retreated to a mound on the back fields to throw a few more pitches.
“Every time I tried to execute a pitch, it was over the middle,” Harvey said. “Every throw was a little bit different than the other one.”
It was the first time this month that Harvey looked off- kilter. He entered the start with a 1.29 ERA in two Grapefruit League appearances and also had pitched in a minor-league game.
“That’s the first time at any time, probably, that lack of command of his fastball,” manager Terry Collins said. “So like I said, we’ll get him back.”
Harvey will huddle with pitching coach Dan Warthen on Friday to review video of the start. He will have one more Grapefruit League tuneup on Tuesday against the Marlins.
“Today was a little bit more of a grind than expected and would want,” Harvey said. “But like I said, we’ll go back to the groundwork tomorrow and go over some video.”
Notes & quotes: Michael Conforto will miss two to three days with back spasms that forced him out of Wednesday’s game. “It does feel better, that’s for sure,” he told reporters. “I saw a doctor. He said the same thing — it’s just spasms, just a muscle thing, it looks like.” . . . Asdrubal Cabrera is penciled in to play in a Grapefruit League game on Sunday, putting him on track for Opening Day . . . David Wright went 0-for-2 with a walk against the Astros, the first of his planned back-to-back games . . . Erik Goeddel allowed two runs in one inning in his first action of the Grapefruit League season during the Mets’ 4-1 split-squad loss to the Red Sox . . . Josh Edgin threw a scoreless inning in a minor-league scrimmage . . . The Mets have lost seven straight games.