It was harder than Matt Harvey expected.
The game was difficult -- the steady rain made the ball hard to grip, the mound soggy and the rosin bag wet -- but the whole season has required more concentration and adaptation than he thought he would need after coming back from Tommy John surgery.
"There are still days that I don't feel as good as I normally would," he said after the Mets' suspended game against the Reds Saturday. "Going through mechanics, it's learning how to have a whole new ligament in my elbow and whether it's release point or certain pitches, I'm finding that it's a lot more tough than I anticipated earlier in the season."
It's true that Harvey Day was a washout -- the score was tied at 1 when it was stopped in the top of the seventh inning after a 53-minute delay -- but Harvey has proved that he knows how to battle well enough to keep even the offensively woebegone Mets in the game.
"He was very good," Terry Collins said. "Under those circumstances, he was really good. The ball was wet. He couldn't keep his hands dry . . . That was a tough game to throw."
Because of the unfavorable forecast, the game was suspended and the final three innings will be played before Sunday's regularly scheduled game. It's the first suspended game for the Mets since May 24, 2013. Reliever Carlos Torres will pitch when the game resumes, Collins said.
"We're doing everything we can out there to put up zeros," Harvey said. "That's our job if we're scoring no runs or if we're scoring a lot of runs."
And though Harvey (7-5, 3.08 ERA) was effective when he needed to be -- he allowed one run and five hits in six innings, striking out three and walking two (one intentional) -- the Mets these days are tending toward the "no runs" part of that equation. They came in batting .174 the last seven games and left the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth.
Much like Friday night, when they managed only two hits but won with two runs, the Mets got a major boost from Curtis Granderson. The team's hottest hitter, who now has a seven-game hitting streak, cracked a home run Friday night and hit his fifth homer in seven games Saturday. His shot in the third inning gives him a team-leading 13.
But Granderson giveth and Granderson taketh away.
The Reds tied it in the fifth, sparked by Tucker Barnhart's hit, a ball that bounced in and out of Granderson's glove for a double. After a sacrifice, Brandon Phillips hit an RBI double to left. Had the Reds not tied it, the game would have been the Mets' third win in a row.
The Mets seemed to have found a groove against starter Michael Lorenzen in the sixth. Wilmer Flores led off the inning with a single and Juan Lagares replaced him on the bases after a forceout. Kevin Plawecki moved him to second with a comebacker and pinch hitter Darrell Ceciliani and Dilson Herrera walked to knock out the righthander.
Facing reliever Manny Parra, Granderson hit a shot to leftfield but Skip Schumaker was able to track it down.
It's frustrating for the Mets. Collins in particular seems flummoxed by the tepid bats, but Granderson fully expects things to turn around.
"It's just baseball," he said. "We're running up against some good pitching . . . and sometimes the balls just aren't falling in . . . It's the part of baseball that makes you scratch your head a little."
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