Mets Follow Formula of Power and Pitching In Matchup Of Young Aces

Published on: 19th April, 2013

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Harvey Raised His Record to 4-0  | read this item

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New York – This was pretty much the way Terry Collins visualized the Mets being successful this season. They would pummel opposing pitchers with their power, make all the defensive plays, and pitch the hell out of the ball with their young, live arms.

Of course, Collins woke up from that dream while the Mets were on their last road trip during which they lost five out of eight games  against Philadelphia and Colorado, getting outscored in those losses by 43-21.

Tonight was different. The Washington Nationals, pre-season favorites to win the World Series this year, positively felt the wrath of Collins’ formula for success as the Mets wiped out the Nats, 7-1.

On an almost balmy 60 degree night back home at Citi Field, the anticipation of the pitching matchup between two of the best young hurlers in the game raised everyone’s temperatures, as well.

Here we had, the National League’s phenom of the past two years, Stephen Strasburg, he of the 99 mph fastball facing the Mets newest star, the 24-year old Matt Harvey, who also likes showing off a right arm that can consistently reach 97-99 mph, with excellent control.

Harvey Raised His Record to 4-0

 

There were only 26,675 fans in the stadium tonight to watch this first matchup of young aces, sure to be the first of many such games over the next several years. One gets the sense there will be many more fans than 26,675 who will claim they were at this first one way back in 2013.

Collins’ formula worked like a charm, tonight. Harvey pitched another gem, the Mets got two homers apiece from Lucas Duda and Ike Davis, the bullpen didn’t blow another one, and they made the basic plays in the field to up their record to 8-7.

Davis and Duda hit solo home runs in the sixth — the first time Strasburg (1-3) ever had been tagged twice in an inning — for a 4-0 lead. The fans at Citi Field celebrated, breaking into one of the more unique cheers you’ll ever hear around a baseball stadium. They repeated constantly and loudly,  “Harvey’s better!”

Davis added a two-run homer in the eighth and Duda hit a solo drive off Drew Storen.

And, Harvey did his thing, the same thing he’s been doing since the season started. He gave up one run and four hits in seven innings, striking out seven. He’s been so dominant, his ERA actually went up, from 0.82 to 0.93. His record is now 4-0, and at this rate, the baseball All-Star game this summer, being played for the first time here at Citi Field, will feature young Harvey on the mound as the starting pitcher for the National League in front of his home fans.

“This kid is at the beginning of a long and very successful career,” said Collins. “Games like tonight can lead to great seasons.”

“It was a great matchup,” Collins said. “Two aces who are very, very good who face each other make for a good night for the fans and the teams.”

The Mets jumped on Strasburg, who fell to 1-3, in the first inning. Leadoff hitter Jordany Valdespin grounded to the Nats shortstop, Ian Desmond, who booted it. Daniel Murphy singled to right, sending Valdespin to third. A wild pitch from Strasburg scored Valdespin and when John Buck singled in Murphy from third, the Mets had their 2-0 lead for Harvey.

There’s going to be a lot of years you guys (the media) will be talking about this guy,” Collins said. “He’s going to be something.”

Strasburg allowed four runs, two unearned, and five hits in six innings. He fanned six, flinging fastballs in the upper 90s.

Harvey gave up just one hit through five innings, a sliced double by Strasburg, before running into his only jam in the seventh. A leadoff walk and singles by Ian Desmond and Chad Tracy made it 4-1, and a throwing error by second baseman Daniel Murphy loaded the bases with no outs.

Collins wasn’t about to pull Harvey, even though the pitcher’s spot was due up first in the bottom half of the inning.

If the kid was going to demonstrate the moxy and composure his manager thinks he has, this was the key moment of the game to exhibit it.

Harvey did what veteran pitchers far more experienced than he have done in this league.  He quickly got ahead of Kurt Suzuki and then made him chase a slider for strike three. Pinch-hitter Roger Bernadina was next, and Harvey got him on a foul popout.

With the crowd chanting his name, Harvey ended the inning by retiring Span on a routine grounder to Murphy at second. Harvey watched the play, pumped his fist and got a fist bump from catcher John Buck outside the dugout.

The crowd was on their feet as Harvey walked off the mound. It’s the kind of sounds that used to echo through Shea Stadium in the days of Seaver, Koosman, and Nolan Ryan. You could almost read the minds of those who were here tonight. Harvey, Jonathan Niese, and someday soon, Zack Wheeler.

Outpitching and pummeling the National League with their new formula certainly seems within reach if Mets fans dream hard enough.

 

 

 

 

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