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Apparently it was Matt Harvey’s fault the Mets lost last night

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The Mets took a 3-2 lead into the top of the ninth inning yesterday, but ended up blowing it by coughing up four runs to the Giants. The runs scored as a result of some bad command on the part of closer Jeruys Familia who walked a couple of guys and gave up a couple of hits and some bad defense by Wilmer Flores who threw away what could’ve been a double play ball. Stuff happens.

Except, at least according to one columnist, this was not a matter of stuff happening. According to Dave Lennon, it was Matt Harvey’s fault:

Because this is a Matt Harvey World, and the Mets just happen to be living in it since the heartbroken pitcher went AWOL, we can partly blame Wednesday’s 6-5 loss to the Giants on the residue from his club-hopping fiasco over the weekend.

And here’s why.

Read his column for the why, but here’s the short version: since Terry Collins decided to push Harvey to Friday, newcomer Tommy Milone had to start yesterday and that led to the loss. “But wait!” you say. “Milone was pretty good, allowing two runs over five innings!” Yes, but his mere presence, Lennon argues, caused Terry Collins to overmanage on Tuesday, using his best relievers despite having a 6-1 lead, assuming he was going to punt Wednesday’s game, so he damn well better win on Tuesday. That meant that Familia ended up pitching three days in a row and, thus, yesterday happened. All thanks to Matt Harvey’s club-hopping.

  • Except, as Lennon admits, Familia had only thrown five pitches on Monday and ten Tuesday and said he wasn’t gassed.
  • Except, as Lennon also admits, Familia has pitched on three days in a row often, having done so once already this season and seven times last year.
  • Except the Mets could maybe have gotten out of the ninth with a win despite all of this if Wilmer Flores hadn’t thrown the ball away.
  • Except Terry Collins’ choice to use a bunch of relievers with a five-run lead the day before is is own mistake, and the notion that he was doing so for fear of what might happen yesterday is both (a) a stretch; and (b) was directly contradicted by what Collins himself said. Indeed, if anything, wouldn’t Collins be more likely to NOT use his relievers on Tuesday if he was truly concerned about Milone on Wednesday? He’d expect a bullpen game, right?

I get that Matt Harvey did a bad thing and that he should feel bad and all of that, but suggesting that it’s his fault the Mets lost yesterday is, in my view, more of an exercise in search engine optimization and hopping on a hot story than it is an exercise in reasonable baseball analysis.

Matt Harvey is guilty of a lot of stuff, but he didn’t lost the game yesterday.

The Red Sox start is ridiculous

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The red-hot Red Sox completed a sweep of the previously red-hot Angels last night, outscoring them 27-3 in their three-game series. Last night’s game was, relatively speaking, a close one, with the Sox winning “only” by six runs. They did manage to strike out Shohei Ohtani three times, though, so some style points help make up for the “squeaker.” Also worth noting that they held Mike Trout of all people to a 3-for-11 line in their three-game series. He did not score a single time and drove in no runs.

That series win puts the Sox at 16-2 on the year. They dropped their Opening Day game to the Rays, but then won their next six games against Tampa Bay, which I’d say makes up for it. In between those two series they swept a two-game series from the Marlins and afterwards they took two of three from the Yankees and three in a row from the Orioles. The only thing that even threatened to slow this juggernaut down is the weather, resulting in a postponement of Monday morning’s Patriot’s Day game. Somewhere in here we should notice that they’re doing this with their starting shortstop and starting second baseman on the disabled list.

As we’ve noted many times, their 16-2 record is the best start in the Red Sox’ 118-year history. It’s also the best start for any team since the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers began 17-1 (let us just forget, for the time being, that those Brewers lost 18 of 20 in May of that year). They are the fourth team since 1961 to win 16 of its first 18 games.

The Sox aren’t simply getting lucky here. They’ve scored 116 runs and have allowed only 50, which is a Pythagorean record of 15-3. They lead all of baseball in offense, scoring 6.44 runs a game, leading individually in average, on-base percentage and slugging. They are only three one hundredths of a run behind the Astros from leading all of baseball in pitching, allowing only 2.78 runs a game. They’re winning all of these games because, in the early going, they’ve simply been that dang much better than everyone they’ve played.

No, the Sox are not going to go 144-18, as they are currently on pace to do. Yes, they are going to find a lot more trouble in their schedule once they play the Orioles, Rays and Marlins less, play a healthier Yankees team more and face off against the Astros, the Blue Jays, the Indians, the Twins and some tougher interleague opponents. This is baseball, obviously, and no one makes it through a season without rough patches, long, short and numerous.

Still: this has been one whale of a start for Boston. Those wins are in the bank. It’s been quite the thing to see.