Mets' Harvey seems familiar to White Sox
May, 7, 2013
By Matt Ehalt
Special to ESPNChicago.com
Special to ESPNChicago.com
AP Photo/Seth WenigMets starter Matt Harvey reacts after striking out the White Sox's Alejandro De Aza in the ninth inning Tuesday.
NEW YORK -- New York Mets starter Matt Harvey made an interleague game feel like an AL Central battle against Detroit's ace for the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.
"He's got about as pretty much dominant stuff as anybody we've seen. Kind of the [Justin] Verlander stuff that you see," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said after a 1-0 loss in 10 innings. "It's velocity, it's movement. Just presence, everything. He had it all. He's impressive."
The White Sox were helpless against Harvey as he dominated them Tuesday at Citi Field, giving up just one hit, no walks and striking out 12 in nine innings. Harvey, who received a no-decision, had a perfect game through 6⅔ innings before Alex Rios reached on an infield single, Chicago's lone hit of the night.
"He was lights-out the whole night," Rios said. "He didn't make any mistakes, and when you have his stuff, and you don't make mistakes, that should speak by itself."
The White Sox have not faced Verlander this season, but both Rios and Ventura compared the Mets' stud to Verlander without any prompting. Ventura explained how Harvey, like Verlander, is a right-handed power pitcher who has the ability to get the low strike but also blow the high fastballs by players. The 12 strikeouts Harvey had Tuesday were a career high.
The White Sox couldn't get anything going as Harvey pounded the zone, throwing 76 of his 105 pitches for strikes. Once he got ahead, Harvey changed speeds, switching between his upper 90s fastball to his low 80s changeup or curveball, while also mixing in a hard slider. Some White Sox hitters tried hacking early in the count while some waited, but neither approach paid dividends.
"It's a lot tougher to work the count because of his great pitches," Rios said. "When you get deeper in the count he's going to throw his best pitches and those pitches are meant to get you out. When he has those well above average pitches it's so much tougher."
Rios ended up being the only batter who kept Harvey from having a historic night. With two outs in the seventh, Rios hit a ball to the right of Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada and got to the bag a fraction of a second before the ball. The next batter, Adam Dunn, struck out to end Chicago's only chance for a run.
"I guess I rolled over, but it got the job done," Rios said. "Got to first and that's what we were trying to do. Get to first and make our chances to score a run better."
In the past two games, as Chicago faced Kansas City's James Shields on Monday, the White Sox were held by Shields and Harvey to three hits and zero runs in the 17 innings they faced the starters.
The players are making adjustments to try to better themselves at the plate, but it has proved to be a tall task when they see elite pitching like they did the last two days.
"You're going to have to scratch something together to win," Ventura said. "Even on guys that have nights like that, you got to be able to just grind it out and get something."