Matt Harvey came out blazing against the Nationals Monday night — and maybe a little too much so.
After his first first pitch blew by Michael Taylor at 99 miles per hour, it looked like the Mets righthander's velocity was there. The command, however, was nowhere to be seen.
And that was Harvey's undoing in the Mets 7-2 loss to the Nationals.
Mets Manager Terry Collins had specifically lined up their pitching rotation to have their star throw in the first game against their division rivals, only to watch him lose control early and too often.
Harvey allowed five runs in seven innings, despite consistently throwing in the mid-90s, with four of them earned. He did not receive much help from the defense behind him but he also hurt himself too, walking four batters and striking out just three.
"The fact that there's been a lot made about this road trip," Collins said later about the big series. "I think he was kind of jacked up and overthrew a little bit."
Washington scored twice in the first inning, with a hit by Danny Espinosa and a walk by Bryce Harper followed by an RBI single by Yunel Escobar. Then Harvey bounced a pitch in the dirt with Harper on second. Catcher Anthony Recker threw to second and while Escobar was tagged out in a rundown, Harper wheeled around to give Washington a 2-0 lead.
In the third inning, the Mets shoddy play continued. After Espinosa and Harper again singled and walked, Clint Robinson doubled to score both.
Then Daniel Murphy threw away a ground ball by Ian Desmond so Robinson scored too. It was his second error of the game.
After the game, the fact that Harvey retired the final 14 batters he faced after falling behind seemed a moot point.
"I couldn't really find a rhythm and find a zone," he said. "It's tough against a team like that. If you can't find, maybe you try a little bit too hard to find it right away instead of toning it down."