Chansky’s Notebook: The Harvey Rules

They are calling the Dark Knight the Pale Pawn.

Former Tar Heel Matt Harvey made it big in the majors a year after he joined the Mets in 2013. That’s when his menacing beard and tough-guy demeanor on the mound made him an all-star and gave him his nickname, which he played to the hilt as a man about town.

Things aren’t so good for the Dark Knight these days, a year after coming off Tommy John surgery that cost him the entire 2014 season. He seemed to regain his form a year ago, which proved the operation was successful. He posted his best record, 13-8, and struck out three short of the 191 Ks he had before the injury. His career earn-run average at that point was around 2.50, pretty darn good.

After 10 starts this season, and a 3-7 record so far, coupled with an awful 6.08 ERA, Harvey has been blasted by the New York media, which does that to athletes who don’t play by the rules off the field. Harvey is surly, slips out the back door of the locker room before the press comes in and says basically nothing when approached otherwise.

A column in the New York Post blistered Harvey this week, calling him a phony and criticizing the Mets for enabling his unprofessional behavior. The Post said, from DiMaggio to Jeter, pro athletes in New York have stood tall and taken the heat whenever things went bad.

They call them the Harvey Rules. Matt does it his way when things are going good and makes up his own rules when things aren’t. It is a familiar refrain; according to one of his former coaches at UNC, Harvey was the toughest player to deal with on the team.

Now the Mets say they have to do what is best for the Mets, as well as Harvey. That may mean sending him to the minors, where he can work on his head and his heart as well as his velocity and location. The Mets’ chief rival in the National East is Washington, which has crushed Harvey in his two starts against the Nats.

They said his once-dominant fastball is indifferent now and his second and third pitches are being slammed all over the park. He has given up 11 earned runs in 7 2/3 innings against Washington.

Looks like The Dark Knight needs to lighten up or they will be calling him Flash, as in Flash in the Pan.

Harvey Sidelined With Tommy John Surgery

Photo Courtesy of New York Post

NEW YORK — Former UNC baseball pitcher Matt Harvey’s fears have been realized.

The New York Mets slinger won’t see any playing time for the 2014 season having undergone Tommy John surgery Tuesday to mend the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

Harvey decided this month to have the surgery before he could begin a throwing regimen. The recovery time for Tommy John surgery is usually 12-15 months.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson says he understands the ace won’t be on the mound in 2014 and is exploring replacement options.

Former Heel Matt Harvey Proving Why He Should Start In MLB All-Star Game

Matt Harvey On The Mound For The Diamond Heels

CHAPEL HILL – UNC Alum turned pro-phenom Matt Harvey has been burning up the mound for the New York Mets in his first season in the major league. Outings like his efforts on Sunday against the Philadelphia Phillies, when he tossed six scoreless innings for an 8-0 shut out, have Harvey in the conversation to start for the National League in July 16 MLB All-Star Game.

If it goes his way, Harvey would be the first former Tar Heel pitcher in history to earn the honor.

Harvey’s fastball averaged a career-high 97.2 mph on Sunday, and he was praised for maintaining his velocity throughout the entire start. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Harvey threw 23 fastballs at 98 mph or faster during the game, the second most by a starter this season. The right hander has been impressive through 16 starts, on a 7-1 record, with a 2.05 ERA, 121 strikeouts, a 0.882 WHIP, 4 homers allowed and a .188 opponent batting average.

If Harvey were to get the start, it would be a historic day for several other reasons as well. Dwight Gooden was the last Met that started in an All-Star Game on the mound, all the way back in 1988. The contest is also being played in Citi Field, the home ball park for the Mets. The last pitcher to start on his home field was Roger Clemens in 2004 in Houston.

After a stand-out junior season at Carolina, Harvey was the seventh overall pick in the first round of the 2010 MLB Draft. He made his major league debut on July 26, 2012, for the Mets against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He set a franchise record for a pitching debut with 11 strikeouts.

Former Tar Heels to play in the All-Star game (started indicated):

Nate Andrews – 1944 (Reserve)

Brian Roberts – 2005 (Started at 2B), 2007 (Reserve)

Snuffy Stirnweiss – 1945 (DNP) 1946 (Reserve)

B.J. Surhoff – 1999 (Reserve)

Burgess Whitehead – 1935 (Reserve), 1937 (Reserve)

Walt Weiss – 1998 (Started at SS)