Although Matt Harvey has plenty of pitches in his arsenal, it was New York Mets manager Terry Collins that tossed a change-up after electing against sending his right-hander to the mound on three days’ rest due to a wet forecast. Mother Nature proved Collins correct as the Mets won a rain-shortened affair heading into Thursday’s series opener against the visiting Cincinnati Reds.
Asdrubal Cabrera recorded an RBI single among his three hits in Wednesday’s 6-3 victory over Philadelphia, giving him hits in seven of his last nine games - including all three versus Cincinnati from Aug. 29-31. The Reds won two of those three encounters, but New York has emerged victorious in six straight versus Cincinnati at Citi Field. Zack Cozart, who homered as the Reds completed a three-game sweep of Milwaukee with a 7-1 rout on Wednesday, is an impressive 6-for-11 lifetime versus Harvey. The victory notwithstanding, Cincinnati suffered quite the loss as major league stolen-base leader Billy Hamilton sustained a broken left thumb and promptly was placed on the 10-day disabled list.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSN Ohio (Cincinnati), SNY (New York)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Reds RH Tyler Mahle (0-1, 2.45 ERA) vs. Mets RH Matt Harvey (4-4, 5.97)
Mahle is searching for his first major-league win despite having allowed just three earned runs and nine hits over 11 innings. The 22-year-old answered a four-walk performance on Aug. 27 by scattered five hits over six scoreless frames in a no-decision versus Pittsburgh on Saturday. Mahle has pitched 155 1/3 innings this season in stints with Double-A Pensacola, Triple-A Louisville and Cincinnati.
Harvey sputtered out of the gate in his first start since spending time on the disabled list with a stress reaction in his right shoulder, although Collins took an optimistic look after his hurler allowed seven runs in a career-low two innings at Houston on Saturday. “I thought his delivery was good,” Collins told reporters. “Have to get his command down. Step one, it’s just nice to see him back out there.” The 28-year-old Harvey has handcuffed Adam Duvall (0-for-6, three strikeouts), although Joey Votto is 5-for-12 with a homer versus the right-hander.
1. New York RHP Noah Syndergaard will make a rehab start for Single-A Brooklyn against the Staten Island Yankees on Thursday.
2. Cincinnati will hand the ball to LHP Amir Garrett for Friday’s tilt in place of RHP Sal Romano, who is being pushed back to Sunday to give a cut on his right index finger a chance to heal.
3. Mets INF Wilmer Flores will be re-examined on Thursday after missing his fourth straight game with a broken nose.
PREDICTION: Reds 3, Mets 2