Unfortunately, fans of the Arizona Diamondbacks were uncooperative.
According to multiple beat writers on the scene, the taunts were flying early and often during the Mets’ eventual 5-4, 11-inning loss on Wednesday afternoon, and it’s possible at least one specific taunt had Harvey instantly rattled.
"Adriana!" shouts a fan at Chase Field. Seconds later, Jake Lamb takes Matt Harvey to the opposite-field. Two-run shot. D-backs lead, 3-2.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) May 17, 2017
For a little backstory, a Page Six report suggested Harvey missed a Mets home game on May 6 because he was distraught over seeing model Adriana Lima, whom Harvey previously dated, together with New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman at the Met Gala in New York.
Harvey was subsequently suspended for three games after claiming a migraine headache and miscommunication as the reason for his absence. Though other reports have gone as far as saying Harvey was out partying the night before his suspension.
Only Harvey knows for sure what the real story is, but it’s become clear that the fans are going to latch on to the tabloid drama.
And only Harvey could say whether or not the taunt in Arizona got to him, but the timing and the outcome were coincidental enough that they couldn’t be ignored.
As anyone following the Mets or Harvey knows, his struggles this season predated the suspension. His command has been off and his velocity hasn’t been consistent enough to overcome it. That has led to an increase in home runs allowed, including the three he yielded in his return last Friday in Milwaukee.
Harvey settled for a no-decision on Wednesday after allowing three earned on six hits. He walked four, struck out five and served up the one home run to Jake Lamb, which is already the 11th he’s allowed in 45 1/3 innings. That’s after surrendering just eight home runs in 92 2/3 innings in 2016. In 2013, he allowed only seven homers over 178 1/3 innings.
Given the nature of his pitching struggles, it’s apparent Harvey needs to retool just as much mechanically as he needs to refocus mentally. But until he puts it all back together, it’s going to be impossible to escape those questioning his priorities and his mindset.
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