Published June 10, 2016
MILWAUKEE -- Curtis Granderson isn't off to the best of starts, but New York Mets manager Terry Collins has no plans to pull the veteran center fielder from his familiar spot atop the order.
Granderson rewarded Collins' faith Thursday, picking up two hits -- including his fifth leadoff home run of the season -- and scoring twice in the Mets' 5-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.
"I think he's our best option," Collins said. "I know when he is in the right state, he gets on base. You look at what he did last year getting on base, it was incredible for us. Yes, he's getting off to a slow start, but there are a few of us off to a slow start. I just think he's the guy."
Collins hopes Granderson can keep things going Friday night when the Mets and Brewers continue their four-game series.
"I think he's going to come on," Collins said. "He likes leading off and ... he can put a run on the board in a hurry."
The Mets also are optimistic that their Friday starting pitcher, Matt Harvey, can continue his recent run of success. He shaved more than a full run off his ERA in his past two starts, allowing just one run on six hits with only one walk and nine strikeouts over 14 innings.
"It's still two starts, and obviously, the massive struggles that happened before, the only thing you want to think of is not letting that kind of creep back in," Harvey said after his last outing. "But feeling pretty good is definitely a positive."
It is a world of difference from his first 10 starts this season, when he went 3-7 with a 6.08 ERA without pitching any further than the sixth inning in any of those games.
Collins credits Harvey's mental adjustments, more so than anything mechanical, for his recent turnaround.
"When you're mentally strong, you don't worry about the other stuff," Collins said. "You fight through it. And that's the Matt Harvey that we always knew. When he'd give up a home run and retire 16 in a row after that, it never bothered him."
Harvey will be making his first career appearance against the Brewers, who will start rookie right-hander Junior Guerra, who will look to get back on track after two mediocre performances against the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies.
Prior to those outings, Guerra was a stabilizing force for Milwaukee's rotation. Brought up from Triple-A Colorado Springs May 3, he went 3-0 with a 3.30 ERA in his first five outings, including a pair of quality starts.
"He's certainly done his job," manager Craig Counsell said of Guerra, once a Mets farmhand. "He's (gotten better as the game goes on) in a bunch of his starts. He's getting to 90-100 pitches and still going strong, still going really good."
Guerra has never pitched against the Mets in his two-year major league career.
Since being swept by the Mets from May 20-22, Milwaukee won 10 of 15 games before falling Thursday night. The Mets have won two in a row after a three-game skid.