The experiment of moving Matt Harvey from the Mets rotation to the bullpen has yet to yield much in the way of good results. The righthander and former ace made his fourth relief appearance since the April 21 demotion and was lit up for five runs over two innings in mop-up duty during the 11-0 loss to the Braves Thursday at Citi Field. His ERA out of the bullpen is an unsightly 10.50.
“It’s been tough going out there and being able to help and do what I know I can do,” Harvey said.
He took no questions about the aftermath of his decision to leave the team and attend a Beverly Hills restaurant opening last Thursday night, after the club arrived from St. Louis and before Friday night’s game in San Diego.
Against the Braves, Harvey was able to extricate the Mets from a two-on and two-out jam in the fifth by getting a ground ball from Ender Inciarte, then retired the side in order in the sixth with a strikeout of Ronald Acuña Jr. But he unraveled in the seventh, giving up five runs. During the frame he allowed three walks and a three-run homer to Ozzie Albies.
“He started just really yanking the ball,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “He’s real stiff right now. He’s trying to lengthen out his stride, but he’s really stiff through the ball. We saw the walks that were yanked and kind of peeling off.
“It was just the way his body is working right now — it’s not allowing him to throw through the catcher. In spring training he was really throwing through the catcher and there was life on the ball and a little more velo. Now the strikes he threw are just landing into the catcher’s mitt instead of going through the catcher. It’s just a byproduct of him being stiff and forcing the ball where he wants to instead of trusting it and letting it go. He’s got a long way to go but the one thing we can’t do is ever give up on anybody.”
Harvey thought the strikeout of Acuna was one of the better sequences for him since he became a reliever because “being able to release the ball and be on-time with my mechanics and see the results . . . was a positive.”
Minor-leaguer Rasquin, suspended 50 games
Mets minor-league catcher Walter Rasquin, on the roster at Class A Columbia, has been suspended for 50 games after violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, MLB announced. He tested positive for the prohibited stimulant methamphetamine . . . The Mets signed infielder Cody Asche to a minor league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Las Vegas. Asche played in 19 games for the 2017 White Sox . . . Third baseman Todd Frazier got a routine off day and said he will return to the starting lineup on Friday against the Rockies. Callaway said Brandon Nimmo will be in the starting lineup on Friday as well.