One number said it all today. Amidst the proclamations and exclamations and celebrations and declarations of “He’s back!” one number said it all.
Matt Harvey hadn’t hit 98 on the radar gun all year. He did it last year 83 times. And today, for the first time this year, he hit it. More than once.
The six strikeouts were nice. The seven shutout innings were nicer. The snap on the breaking ball was a welcome sight, and the improved command was no small pleasure to behold either.
But 98 beat them all. 98 means things are just getting started.
When Matt Harvey is throwing 98, he’s in the zone. When Matt Harvey is in the zone, you can’t touch him. And when Matt Harvey can’t be touched, we win even more than we’re already winning.
Can he repeat it? Who the hell knows, after all this season has shown us? It’s completely impossible to say where we go from here, beyond the fact that A) Harvey’s bought himself some time, at the very least, and B) we’re in a place that’s a whole lot better than where we were yesterday.
And that’s to say nothing of Familia, who after back to back failed outings looked right back at home, or Walker, who homered again from the right side, or Reed, who looks more than ready to take over the closer’s role, not that it now looks like we’ll need it, or Cespedes, who snapped a brief skid with a single and a warning track flyout.
The Nationals? What of ‘em? We’ve got our guys back and ready to go, we’ve got a team hungry for revenge, and we’ve already proven that we’ve got ten times the heart that they do. The Nationals don’t stand a chance.
Well, that’s probably hyperbole, and I’m speaking mostly out of emotion here, but why not? This is baseball. Baseball is all emotion. And when Matt Harvey comes out of a funk to go seven scoreless innings, and Jeurys Familia nails down the save, it’s hard to come away with any emotion but unmitigated positivity.