The New York Mets beat the Baltimore Orioles, 7-1, in Citi Field on Wednesday afternoon. Taijuan Walker continued his excellent season, working seven innings while allowing one run on four hits with four strikeouts against three walks. He's now 3-1 with a 2.20 ERA and 1.02 WHIP this season. The win also marks the seventh straight for the red-hot Mets. They are 18-13 and sit atop the NL East. This game, however, was all about the return of Matt Harvey to Queens.
Harvey started on the mound for the Orioles. It was Harvey's first time facing his former club, and his first time pitching at Citi Field since he was traded by the Mets in 2018.
Here he is in the first inning, greeted to what appears to be a standing ovation with mostly cheers and a mix of some boos as well:
Happy Harvey Day! For the first time ever when he was the opponent. Harvey said the moment was special for him and opened up about it after the game.
"Obviously there have been so many ups and downs here at this ballpark and with this organization that I didn't really know what to expect," Harvey said on his virtual press conference after the game. "And what the fans gave me out there was pretty incredible. I was holding back tears. I'm not going to lie about that."
The outing itself didn't go well for Harvey despite a 1-2-3 first inning. The Mets greeted him with four straight hits to start the second inning, plating three runs. He would end up being removed with one out in the fifth inning, having left behind two baserunners. Both of those baserunners would come around to score, the final line looks pretty ugly.
This marks the worst start of the season for Harvey. Still, he was given another warm ovation from the Mets fans on his way out. Overall, good for Harvey for getting that moment after a pretty bad breakup three years ago.
Harvey spent six seasons with the Mets, starting the 2013 All-Star Game on that mound and finishing fourth in NL Cy Young voting that season. He also was one of the pitching staff anchors on the 2015 run to the NL pennant, famously talking his way out of being shut down during September and pitching deep into October instead.
Following that 2015 run, the remaining times with Harvey and the Mets were tumultuous, but there's no need to relive the bad. From 2012-15, Harvey made 65 starts for the Mets, going 25-18 with a 2.53 ERA (146 ERA+), 1.00 WHIP and 449 strikeouts in 427 innings. Wednesday provided Mets fans with their first chance to greet Harvey in three years.
Among the 30 MLB ballparks, he's most familiar with Citi Field and it's not even close. He previously made 51 career starts in Citi Field. His second-highest total among ballparks would be the 13 starts he made in Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park. He carried a career 3.14 ERA in Citi Field. Though Harvey is far from the pitcher he was during his prime years, he entered Wednesday's outing 3-2 with a 3.60 ERA and 1.29 WHIP this season for the Orioles. His ERA jumped to 4.81 after getting hit hard.