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Tonight is arguably the most important start of Matt Harvey's career

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

When Matt Harvey came up at the end of the 2012 season for the Mets they were in a fragile state. They hadn't won in years, and they were desperate for answers. Met fans were restless, and there were more questions than answers. Matt Harvey changed the culture. He came up with a look in his eyes signaling he would not be denied. He quickly rose to the top of the league in performance and stature. He was the guy to bring the Mets back to the promise land, he became known as "the dark knight." Met fans fell in love with his refusal to lose, something that had been lacking since the Mets made the playoffs back in 2006. 

Harvey was the starter of the all star game the next season in the 2013 mid summer classic at Citi Field. He was the talk of the town, and arguably the best pitcher in baseball. Then came his Tommy John injury. His elbow required surgery that took him off the field until the beginning of the 2015 season. When he came back, people wondered if he could replicate the performance he had put forth before his injury occurred. Harvey silenced many critics with a 13-8 record and a 2.71 e.r.a. Harvey also had a great postseason leading up until the World Series. It had appeared that the Dark Knight had risen again.

However, in game five of the World Series against the Kansas City Royals, Matt's big ego got the best of him. He forced Terry Collins to let him pitch the ninth inning where the Mets eventually blew the game, overshadowing the brilliant eight innings he threw prior to that point. 

Ever since, Harvey has been anything but himself. Since that ninth inning, the wheels have come off the bus. Starting this Spring Training, Harvey has been very shaky. He lost a lot of his velocity, and his breaking pitches are flat as could be. He has struggled to this point in the regular season, sporting a 3-6 record with a brutal 5.77 e.r.a. Tonight, Harvey clashes against the first place Nationals, whom the Mets trail just by a half a game. Matt has been the recipient of much criticism to date, so any slip up tonight for him could spell major chaos in the Mets organization. There is no doubt that Harvey's ego has been humbled, but the Mets need him. It can only get better from here, so lets see what Harvey is made of tonight. It will be fascinating to watch. Can the guy who brought a winning mentality to the Mets save his season?

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