Hours before the Buffalo Bisons opened a four-game series with the Toledo Mud Hens, the press box at Coca-Cola Field was already filled with laptops. See, the New York City media descended on Buffalo today what with the Mets having the day off and the big-buzz guy pitching for the Herd today.
Matt Harvey gets his 18th start of the season for Buffalo tonight and he's the latest rage in the social media stratosphere when it comes to the Mets and pitching rotation. He name has been mentioned routinely as a potential call-up to the big league club this season and the chatter grew more intense in the past week when Dillon Gee was put on the injured reserved list and underwent surger for a blood clot in his shoulder. Gee's spot in the rotation comes up again Saturday at Citi Field and there's been much speculation that the Harvey will get his first trip to the big leagues for the start.
And so the speculation continued to downtown Buffalo Monday afternoon as reporters questioned J.P. Ricciardi, special assistant to Mets' General Manager Sandy Alderson. Would Monday night serve as an audition for Harvey?
"I don’t think this is a make or break start for him or anything like that," Ricciardi said.
"I can tell you that I’m not up here to make that decision. I can tell you if that decision comes it wouldn’t be based I think on just today. I don’t want to sit here and tell you that could happen and then it doesn’t happen. But I’m just here to really see where he’s at. ... I wasn’t told that this is an audition for him, that [he pitches] well and he’s in the big leagues. I think we’re just excited that we’ve got some good young arms. We’d be foolish to rush him in any way, shape or form.
"Ultimately he’s going to be a big leaguer. When it is, only time will tell. ... Ultimatley Matt will be pitching for the Mets at some point."
Harvey is 7-4 for the Herd this year with a 3.39 earned run average.
Also in the lineup for the Herd tonight is Jason Bay, who continues his Major League rehabilitation assignment with the Herd after suffering a concussion on June 15 with the Mets. In his two appearances with the Bisons, Bay has gone 3 for 8 (.375).
Tonight's Bisons lineup:
Fred Lewis -- DH
Jason Bay -- LF
Adam Loewen -- 1B
Zach Lutz -- 3B
Matt den Dekker -- CF
Josh Satin -- 2B
Matt Tuiasosopo -- RF
Josh Rodriguez -- SS
Lucas May -- C
--- Amy Moritz