Mets, Behind Matt Harvey, Shut Out Phillies at Citi Field

Published on: 21st July, 2013

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Dominic Brown watches Juan Legares' home run clear the wall  | read this item

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New York — It’s on days like these, a high 80s, summery afternoon in the middle of July and the middle of a baseball season when the Mets and their fans can daydream about what their future can someday hold. Days when the Mets can look like world-beaters for one simple reason – major league hitters cannot touch their starting pitcher – and it helps everyone see exactly how the formula can work..

Watching their young ace, Matt Harvey on the mound against an intense division rival, Philadelphia, and their ace pitcher, Cliff Lee, in front of a big crowd certainly brings thoughts of what could be if they succeed in implementing their well-known organizational plan to have top of rotation talent on the mound in every game they play. It may seem next to impossible to have an entire starting staff that could come close to emulating the consistent performances of young Mr. Harvey, but again, Mets fans are allowed to dream, aren’t they?.

The Mets took today’s rubber game of this important three-game series, 5-0, in front of a bright, shining, happy throng of 32,127 on Dwight Gooden Bobblehead Day as Harvey threw 99 mph bb’s at Phillies hitters the way a 19-year old Gooden used to do it in 1984. With Gooden in the stadium sitting behind home plate, Harvey did him proud as he dominated this game as he has dominated most games this season…..with pure power.

But, like the good Doctor, Harvey is not solely dependent on his fastball. When he wasn’t overpowering the Phils hitters with that heater, he was fooling them with his an excellent 91 mph slider and a changeup, which at 86 mph was almost as fast as Cliff Lee’s fastball these days.

If there is such a thing as a second-year, 24-year old pitcher delivering a vintage performance, today was it. The kid struck out 10 Phillies and allowed only three hits in his seven-inning stint, the sixth double-digit strikeout game of his season and the eighth of his young career. Remarkably, the power-pitching phenom walked nobody today. It’s a rare combination of power, control, and command of three pitches he possesses.

Lee, still an excellent pitcher who came into today’s game with a 10-3 record and an era below 3, has turned into more of a finesse lefty with excellent control of what is now a 90-91mph fastball (he used to be a consistent mid-90s pitcher) and a good, hard slider. But like most pitchers who lose velocity and depend on location, they get hit and hit hard if they miss their spots.

Today, Lee missed his spots just three times over two different innings and he was hurt badly each time. On the first one, David Wright pulled a belt-high, 1-2 fastball into the left field stands in the first inning to put the Mets up 1-0. The very next batter, Mets cleanup man Marlon Byrd, followed with a long home run into the second deck in left to double the Mets lead.

Dominic Brown watches Juan Legares' home run clear the wall

In the Mets fourth, Wright led off with a single. Byrd struck out but Josh Satin, who seems to do something good every day he plays had an infield roller to third that went as a single. After John Buck flied out, the Mets latest experiment in centerfield, Juan Lagares hit a rope off a Lee hanging fastball just over the home run stripe painted on the left field wall. After a brief umpire look at the video, which confirmed the round-tripper, Lagares’ three-run shot put the Mets up 5-0 and with Harvey pitching like he wanted to prove he’s more than just a magazine model or television personality, Mets manager Terry Collins was feeling comfortable.

“Matt pitched like he was on a mission today,” Collins said. “I think all the hoopla of the last few weeks surrounding him made him want to prove he’s here to be a baseball player. We all know how hard he works at his craft. He just wanted to prove it a little more, today.”

Mets Notes: Harvey is the sixth pitcher in Mets history to register six double-digit strikeout games in a single season. He joins Tom Seaver, Gooden, David Cone, Sid Fernandez, and R.A. Dickey. Harvey is the first pitcher in team history with four games of double-digit strikeouts and no walks in a single season and just the 10th pitcher to do so since 1916. Wright’s home run, his 219th of his career puts him one behind Mike Piazza for second place on the Mets all-tome list. Darryl Strawberry is first.

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