Almost improbably, the Dark Knight returns to the mound in Flushing on Wednesday afternoon (12:15 p.m. ET) as Baltimore Orioles starter Matt Harvey is lined up to face his former team, the New York Mets, for the first time since his departure from the club in 2018.
It’s been a convoluted journey back to Citi Field for the now 32-year-old right-hander, who was once considered the next savior of the Mets franchise upon his blazing start with the team from 2012-2013.
After a rather ugly split led to a trade to the Reds, Harvey was unable to bolster down any sort of consistency in Cincinnati before stints with the Los Angeles Angels and Kansas City Royals — which also posted a brief stay with the Oakland Athletics, though he never appeared in a game for them.
He posted a 7.82 ERA from 2019-2020 as his MLB career seemed toast. But he won a minor-league spot with the Orioles, which he has now translated to a resurgence that is quickly becoming one of the more feel-good stories around Major League Baseball.
Harvey is 3-2 with a 3.60 ERA for an Orioles team that is projected to be one of the very worst in baseball this season; with his performances bucking that trend at least once every fifth day. He’s allowed just three earned runs in his last three starts (1.72 ERA) while opponents are batting just .193 against him.
It’s concrete evidence that he has finally revamped and reworked his game, which was no easy feat considering he currently calls a hitter’s paradise in Camden Yards home while basically having to re-learn how to pitch after an onslaught of injuries derailed his Mets career. That included Tommy John surgery and a thoracic outlet syndrome procedure that led to the removal of one of his ribs.
He’s no longer a power pitcher that racks up the strikeouts, but one that relies on soft contact and control — his walk rate is in the 70th percentile of all MLB pitchers.
His former team seems as though they are waking up from the doldrums of an early-season slump, which will provide Harvey with his toughest test yet as an Oriole.