Can Matt Harvey Bounce Back In 2018?

Can Matt Harvey Bounce Back In 2018?

Will the Dark Knight ever return to form?
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For Matt Harvey, 2018 has to be more than just a bounce-back year. It needs to be the year where he defines his entire career.

It seems like an eternity ago, but at one point, Matt Harvey seemed like the future of the Mets. Before Jacob DeGrom and Noah Syndergaard even joined the team, Harvey was there, breaking records and starting All-Star Games. Typical rookie stuff. In 2015, when the Mets reached the World Series, Harvey’s dominant 8+ inning performance in Game 5 came crashing to a halt after walking Lorenzo Cain and giving up a subsequent RBI double to Eric Hosmer. Harvey was removed from the game, and the Mets would lose the series later that night.

Since then, Harvey has never been the same pitcher he once was. Over the past two seasons, he’s gone 9-17 while posting a staggering ERA of 5.78. He wasn’t able to finish either season due to injury.

However, 2018 will be a year where the Mets can only go up, and in a contract year, Harvey has the chance to prove he can be a dynamic part of the team’s rotation. With Manager Mickey Callaway at the reins of a complete turnaround for the Mets after an abysmal 2017, it would only make sense that Matt Harvey could completely turn his career around.

During his tenure as pitching coach for Cleveland, Callaway was responsible for the evolution and domination of both Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, pitchers who led the Indians to back to back playoff appearances over the past 2 years. With the Mets, Callaway believes he can do the same, and that the talent is inherent for the team. “The amount of very good arms and quality stuff we have in this Mets organization, I promise you nobody else has that,” Callaway said on Tuesday.

Of course, in order for the talent to shine, the Mets need to overcome their greatest weakness and stay healthy. In 2017, four out of the five probable starters for the Mets all served lengthy stints on the disabled list, while DeGrom was the only SP to have an effective season. While Callaway danced around the idea of limiting pitchers’ innings, he put an immense emphasis on health, a topic that Harvey has struggled with immensely.

After undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome in 2016, and in 2017, Harvey received more surgery to repair his left shoulder blade. While there are still plenty of questions regarding his health, and if he could possibly return to form in 2018, Callaway has put his faith into not only Harvey, but the entire Mets pitching staff. “There are smiles on everyone’s faces because they’re coming in healthy and what I’ve seen so far has kind of blown me away”

Cover Image Credit: WikimediaCommons

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.
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I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn't sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It's obvious your calling wasn't coaching and you weren't meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn't have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn't your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that's how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “It's not what you say, its how you say it."

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won't even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don't hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That's the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she's the reason I continued to play."

I don't blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn't working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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Bryce Harper And Manny Machado Are In A Race To The World Series

This offseason, two of the biggest free agents in recent memory of Major League Baseball (MLB), but as time went on neither Machado or Harper had signed a blockbuster deal.

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Manny Machado and Bryce Harper are two of baseball's greatest rising stars, and fans and teams were waiting for the 2018-2019 offseason where both Machado and Harper were going to be on the free-agent market. Throughout the offseason, neither superstar had signed a contract yet, and as time got closer for players to report to Florida, and Arizona for spring training. After the two were able to sign their respective contract, now people are wondering which player will be able to win their first World Series trophy with their new team.

Throughout the MLB offseason, reporters and fans have been drooling to see what contracts two of the biggest free agents in recent memory would receive this year.

As the winter months came and went, neither Machado or Harper had a job for the 2019 MLB season, and when pitchers and catchers reported to camp, the thought actually occurred that Machado or Harper would have to be bagging groceries when it came to Opening Day. As the old saying goes, once the first domino falls, the rest come crashing down, and on February 20th, 2019 the San Diego Padres signed Manny Machado to a 10 year, $300 million deal. Eight days later the Philadelphia Phillies signed Bryce Harper to a 13 year $330 million deal. Both Machado and Harper had opportunities to win with their previous teams, neither was able to hoist the Commissioner's Trophy.

While the Padres are "a few years away" from contending to win, we saw this year where the Atlanta Braves were able to expedite the process by bringing farm talent to the big leagues. The Phillies, on the other hand, are in a win now scenario, with stars like Rhys Hoskins, Aaron Nola, and Jake Arrieta, they have the chance to contend for the NL East and possibly a World Series title.

So, which star will be the first to get their rings fitted?

Bryce Harper, while Machado is an incredible player, he will have to go through the Colorado Rockies, which just extend future Hall of Famer Nolan Arenado and the Los Angeles Dodgers who will always contend for World Series titles. Harper, on the other hand, is going to a team that was one piece away from taking the division home a year ago, while it looks like Harper's former team the Washington Nationals will rebound after a mediocre year in their standards, and the aforementioned Atlanta Braves are the reigning division champs.

If the Phillies can get star pitcher Jake Arrieta back to CY Young form, and with the addition of veteran outfielder Andrew McCutchen, the Phillies are in a great scenario to win the World Series for the first time since 2008.

While by no means is the contract Harper got favorable to the Phillies, they knew that Harper was the missing piece to win the World Series. Also, I'm not saying Machado and the Padres aren't going to contend for World Series in the future, just not as soon as the Phillies are. Now, if the Padres can pick up a star pitcher to have a stranglehold on their rotation *cough, cough Dallas Keuchel* then possibly they can contend for World Series in 2-3 years. But, as everything stands right now the Philadelphia Phillies, along with Bryce Harper are on their way to win a World Series before the San Diego Padres with Manny Machado.

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