More on Matt Harvey's matchup with the Mets

Matt Harvey is pitching in New York today, and if this is news to you, I admire your 20-20 tunnel vision.

Harvey hasn't stepped on the Citi Field mound since his relief appearance on May 3, 2018, which led to the Mets' attempts to option him. Which led to Harvey's refusal and the decision to designate him for assignment.

Though it's pretty much impossible to do, Harvey has tried to shut out the distractions and reduce the fuss made over his return to Queens. He wanted to wait until after tonight's game to speak with the media rather than hopping on a Zoom call yesterday.

This is supposed to be about the team, not one individual. About a starting pitcher simply preparing to face the Mets. But The Dark Knight is back.

Can't take it lightly.

John Means was starting last night for the first time since his no-hitter, and the first, third, fourth and ninth questions for Hyde in his pregame Zoom call were about Harvey.

Hyde didn't spend yesterday exhausting himself trying to pry emotions out of Harvey or walking with him down memory lane. Of course, they talked about his return, but "just a little bit, not much," Hyde said.

Sounds like it was done in a New York minute.

Harvey-Matt-Throws-Gray-Sidebar.jpg"I asked if when he was in Cincinnati (in 2018) if they came here and he did," Hyde said, "but he didn't pitch in the series, so he has been back here, just hasn't pitched here against the Mets. So we talked a little bit about that.

"Matt's so even-keeled and level-headed that it's hard to tell how up or down he is ever. He's just professional. I know he's looking forward to (today)."

Harvey started Game 1 of the 2015 National League Championship Series against the Cubs, who employed Hyde as bench coach. Harvey allowed two runs and four hits with nine strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings and the Mets won 4-2.

"I told some people about that night," Hyde said. "That is a 'welcome to the postseason' moment. We had just beaten St. Louis and Matt's on the mound and I think we were 7-0 against the Mets that year going into that series. They were obviously really hot. Daniel Murphy was the hottest hitter on the planet at that time.

"I just remember we're facing Matt, (Noah) Syndergaard, (Jacob) deGrom, (Steven) Matz, and I just remember when Matt came out of the bullpen before first pitch and the whole crowd just went ... They had The Dark Knight thing going and the whole crowd just went bananas. It was about 30 degrees, probably one of the loudest stadiums I've ever heard at that moment, just how loud they were when he was just exiting the bullpen to come into the dugout and get ready to throw the first pitch. So he's had a lot of cool moments here and that was fun to witness, even though he pitched really well against us that night."

Hyde is relieved to have the veteran starter on his side. Harvey clearly feels the same, more than just content to pitch for the Orioles while breathing new life into his career.

The only apparent disagreement between the two has been Harvey's insistence that he disappointed in his last start, when his line showed four unearned runs in four innings against the Red Sox, while Hyde doled out praise and disputed every criticism.

Harvey has been charged with three earned runs in his last three starts over 15 2/3 innings to drop his ERA from 5.12 to a season-low 3.60.

"I think he's appreciative of the opportunity and he's running with it," Hyde said. "I think he really likes the coaching staff, I think he really likes the clubhouse. I've talked to him, he loves being here and he's having a lot of fun. And obviously having success helps that. And pitching well and being healthy helps that.

"I know he's really enjoying his time right now and that's been the most impressive thing, just the way he is on a day-to-day basis. He was really upset after his last start, because he didn't feel like he gave the team a better chance to win. He's a team-first guy.

"He's been really fun to have and he's been a pro in every way and he's been a help to the younger players and the coaches loves having him around, so it's been all positive so far."

Means follows no-hitter with six scoreless innings...
O's game blog: John Means faces Mets in series ope...

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