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NEW YORK So maybe you thought the coup was complete in Flushing, that Matt Harvey had been deposed as the Mets’ ace by Jacob deGrom’s swing-and-mi s proficiency or the fury of Noah Syndergaard’s 100-mph fastball.Maybe you thought Harvey’s prime had come and gone, vaporized by Tommy John surgery or an inningslimit or Manhattan’s traffic congestion. Maybe Harvey was living on borrowed time in a Mets’ uniform there were plenty of fanswho were calling for him to be excommunicated, even if a trade meant sending him to the Yankees.MORE: Best NLCS photos | Five takeaways from Game 1 | Arrieta vs.Syndergaard in Game 2Well, it’s time to walk back every one of those crazy a sumptionsnow that Harvey crushed the Cubs in Game 1 of the NL Championship Series and proved, yes, he’s still the rotation’s sole guardian.How good was Harvey? In the Mets’ 4-2 win, in 7 2/3 innings, he allowed just four hits and struck out nine, walking off the mound in the eighth to a standing ovation and thunderous chanting of the largest crowd in Citi Field history.How big of a victory was it? It’s not even quantifiable, considering the Adeiny Hechavarria Jersey Cubs were coming off their stunning takedown of the Cardinals and believe they’re on a history-making roll. The Cubs put the Mets on notice: They’re more dangerous than the Dodgers, crush more home runs and are more creatively managed.No wonder the Cubs are the favorites in this NLCS or at least they were before Harvey finished carving them up. When the right-hander said, I wanted this game bad, he knew it would take more than just fastballs. Harvey’s evolution in the post-Tommy John part of his career means out-thinking hitters in a way he didn’t have to in 2013.That’s bad news for opponents. Just look at what he did to the Cubs in the first inning, when the crowd, on its feet from the moment the national anthem started, was already in a primal frenzy.This is the last stop before the World Series, the moment Mets fans have been waiting for since 2006. It’s true, the Cubs are working towardending a century-old curse, but that’s not even in thehttps://www.raysedge.com/tampa-bay-rays/corey-dickerson-jersey discu sion in Flushing, not after the Mets rolled over Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.Ever since their epic, 3-2 win over LA on Thursday, the momentum has been building at Citi Field. Harvey could’ve easily been swept up in a rush of adrenaline. He could’ve taken a deep breath and showed off his fastball, trying to get swings and mi ses with pure velocity.But Harvey didn’t. Of the nine pitches he threw to Dexter Fowler, Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant, the Cubs’ first three hitters, only four were four-seam fastballs. The rest was pure artistry, working the corners, changing eyelevel, controlling bat-speed.The result? Strikeout, strikeout, weak groundout. Harvey had made his point. As Daniel Murphy said, it (took) some of the pre sure off a little bit when you see how good he (was) from the first pitch.Murphy hit a homer in the bottom of the first off Jon Lester, and that was no coincidence. So did Travis D’Arnaud in the sixth. When Harvey said, I had to set the tone early, he knew it meant out-pitching Lester.Harvey turned into a perfect storm, combining everything in his arsenal to smother the Cubs. He retired the first 12 batters, none of whom got the ball out of the infield. Thirty two of the first 44 pitches were strikes, including both corners and at varying speeds.In other words, Harvey was downright unhittable in the biggest start of his career. He threw 97 pitches, 64 of which were strikes, including 10 of his 12 changeups and 11 of his 13 sliders.No wonder Joe Maddon called Harvey’s command outrageous.And no wonder Terry Collins keeps calling Harvey Chris Archer Jersey his ace. He knows deGrom and Syndergaard are more talented and, at this point, more explosive. But Harvey has a warrior ethos that exceeds that of the other starters. Although he clearly mishandled the innings-limit fiasco, Harvey seems to have earned absolution from everyone in the Metsfamily his manager, his teammates and now the fans.Collins, in fact, is still his great advocate. I talk to (Harvey) every day, he said. I know exactly what he’s made of. I know what he’s about and he wants the baseball. He wants it.Harvey will likely get another start in this series, now that the inningslimit has been lifted. The only mitigating factor could be Fowler’s line drive that caught Harvey on the triceps in the sixth inning hit so hard, he said, it kind of dented my arm.But the Mets don’t think there’ll be any day-after i sues. In fact, Harvey has already offered to pitch Game 7 if the series goes that far. He won’t even without constraints the Mets won’t ever let Harvey, who’s on schedule to start Game 7, throw the final game on short rest.Besides, Harvey already paid a huge dividend, smothering the Cubs and sending a me sage heard throughout Citi Field.Who owns the starting rotation? At this point, do we even have to ask?

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