Matt Harvey will look to shake off a sluggish start to the season when the Mets return to Progressive Field on Saturday for the second of three games against the Indians.
Harvey gave up three earned runs in each of his first two starts of the season against the Royals and Phillies, producing a 4.63 ERA and only five strikeouts in 11 2/3 innings. With Jacob deGrom battling injury and Steven Matz coming off the worst start of his career in his season debut last Monday, the Mets need Harvey to be at his dominant best.
Harvey will oppose Indians starter Josh Tomlin, who will be making his first start of a disjointed April. Cleveland's fifth starter, Tomlin has been the odd man out due to three weather postponements and a couple of off-days. As a result, he'll be starting on 17 days of rest.
Things to know about this game
• Tomlin threw a simulated game on Tuesday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg in an effort to stay sharp, in light of his long layoff between starts. Manager Terry Francona believed the experience was not only good for Tomlin, but for the batters who stood in to face the right-hander.
"There's no guarantees what's going to happen tomorrow," Francona said on Friday. "But he has a really good way of handling whatever. ... We came out early on Tuesday and had him throw a simulated game. And I think, again, the way Josh does things, I think he got a lot out of it.
• Looking to spark a lagging offense, Mets manager Terry Collins bumped left fielder Michael Conforto up to third in his lineup Friday for the first time this season, and the fifth time in Conforto's career. He responded with a home run in his first plate appearance, making Conforto a good bet to remain in the No. 3 spot Saturday against the right-handed Tomlin.
• Veteran third baseman Juan Uribe -- a former Met, who could receive his National League championship ring as soon as this weekend -- snapped an 0-for-18 slump with a second-inning single on Friday against New York. Francona said he has not been overly concerned about Uribe's slow start due to the number of hard-hit outs he has recorded.