Can Harvey Take the Heat?
For those of you who don’t reside in New York City or anywhere thereabouts, the Big Apple is currently dealing with a weeklong heat wave that has transformed it, quite literally, into a melting pot. People are walking around the greater Metropolitan area like a bunch of toasted, muttering, post-apocalyptic zombies. In short, perfect conditions for Major League Baseball’s All Star Game out in Queens.
What makes this year’s midsummer classic somewhat cool, however, is that Mets’ phenom Matt Harvey will be the starting pitcher for the National League in front of the hometown fans at Citi Field. Though the Mets are hardly a pennant contender at this point, Harvey has shown himself to be pretty calm under pressure thus far, showing a mound and media maturity beyond his 24 years. He also is dating Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Anne Vyalitsyna, so he knows from hot. But the one thing he hasn’t mastered to this point, at least to this highly-untrained eye, is pitching well in unbearably hot weather. Granted this summer has been fairly unbearable from the word “go,” and very few people perform well in blast furnace-like conditions, but with all of the added scrutiny on Harvey, you can’t help but notice these things. It’s not all that big a deal, but it seems that the handful of games he’s recently started where the temps have climbed into the 90s and the humidity sticks to you like napalm he’s scuffled much more than usual. It's one thing to not be dominant, but quite another when teams dig in and actually knock you around.
In any event, like any young pitcher, Harvey is a work in progress and a hell of a work it is. It just will be interesting to see how he pitches tonight, not so much under the hot lights of an All Star Game but the hot weather of a stifling New York City summer.