Josh Hamilton got off to amazing home run pace, going deep 18 times in his first 31 games. However, since homering nine times in a six-game stretch from May 7 to May 12–including his four-homer game on May 8–he’s yet to leave the ballpark.
Hamilton is homerless since May 12, which is a span of 11 games and 46 plate appearances. Now, for most hitters going homerless for two weeks wouldn’t be the least bit noteworthy, but Hamilton simply showing that he’s human at the plate qualifies as pretty big news considering his ridiculous start.
During that 11-game homerless stretch he’s still hitting .308 with a .348 on-base percentage and three doubles, but Hamilton’s slugging percentage is just .385 and his OPS is .732.
And here’s the amazing part: He still leads the league in homers, RBIs, extra-base hits, slugging percentage, OPS, total bases, and Wins Above Replacement–many by wide margins–while also ranking second in batting average, on-base percentage, runs, hits, and times on base.
Mets right-hander Matt Harvey is heading to the bullpen, according to comments made by club manager Mickey Callaway on Saturday. As predicted, Harvey doesn’t appear to be taking the news particularly well, going so far as to tell Callaway that the decision has him “at a 10 with being pissed off” and that he’s motivated to prove himself as a starter.
It’s been rough going for Harvey this spring. After missing significant time to a shoulder injury last season, the 29-year-old righty returned to the mound with a lot left to prove. He pitched to an 0-2 record in four starts, issuing 14 runs, four home runs and 17 strikeouts in 21 innings. It’s been a while since the Mets have seen anything better out of their starter — he hasn’t turned in a sub-4.00 ERA since 2015 and hasn’t pitched well enough to earn an All-Star berth since 2013 — and now it appears they’re at the end of their rope.
At this point, the Mets insist that the shift is a temporary one. While Callaway has helped successfully convert several starters to the bullpen, including Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco, that’s not the plan for this veteran right-hander. Instead, both the team and Harvey seem to view the change as a way to clear up any mental blocks Harvey may be encountering on the mound. “We know he’s healthy,” assistant GM John Ricco told reporters. “He’s feeling good. Then you get to, is this a little bit of a mental thing, a confidence thing? One of the things we talk about is getting him into the ‘pen, where he can have success in short spurts, get that confidence back and really let it go and get back to being a guy who can dominate the way he’s shown in the past.”
Harvey will be eligible to pitch out of the bullpen on Tuesday, when the Mets are scheduled to kick off their next road series against the Cardinals. As for his replacement, left-hander Jason Vargas will resume his role in the rotation when he comes off the disabled list next Saturday.