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Harvey looks special in first start of 2013

4/3/2013

Matt Harvey continues to live up to the hype.

The Mets' promising young righty was brilliant in his first start of the season on Wednesday, throwing seven shutout innings and allowing just one hit in the Mets' 8-4 victory over the Padres.

Harvey struck out 10 and walked only two, despite pitching in unseasonably cold conditions at Citi Field. The thermometer read 44 degrees at first pitch, and the swirling winds made it feel even colder.

"He pitched an absolutely, under the circumstances, an unbelievable game," said manager Terry Collins. "You walk out and you grab that baseball in that kind of weather, it feels like a cue ball. The fact that he commanded his stuff as well as he did is impressive."

Harvey was on top of his game from the get-go, striking out the first batter of the night, Everth Cabrera, on four pitches. Harvey was perfect through three innings, before giving up a clean single to Cabrera leading off the fourth.

Harvey's fastball topped out at 98 mph, and his secondary pitches were effective as well. His final two strikeouts, in the seventh, came via changeup.

"He's a little different than he was last fall," Collins said. "Last fall he wanted to show everybody that his stuff was plus stuff, which we all heard it was. He's becoming a pitcher.

"With his change and the effectiveness of his curveball and his slider, and he still throws 97, 98 -- this guy's got every weapon you could possibly need to get people out."

Harvey credited his fastball as the key to his success on Wednesday. "I've said all spring training what I wanted to do was go out there and pound the zone," he said. "I wasn't going to let the cold affect that mindset, and I went out there, tried to block that out, and just throw the ball."

His catcher, John Buck, agreed. "Obviously all his stuff is electric," Buck said. "He was getting a lot of swings and misses late in counts with that elevated fastball."

Last season, the Mets called up Harvey -- the seventh overall pick in the 2010 draft -- in late July. In 10 starts, he pitched to a 2.73 ERA with 70 strikeouts in just 59 1/3 innings, giving the team and its fan base hope for the future.

On Wednesday night, in the first start of his first full season, Harvey gave them even more. The 24-year-old looks like a potential major league ace.

In fact, Harvey is only the third pitcher in franchise history to strike out 10 or more batters three times in his first 11 appearances. The other two? Dwight Gooden and Nolan Ryan.

Yet Harvey sounded far from satisfied after the game -- another good sign.

"It's one outing. I plan on having 30 hopefully this season," Harvey said. "There's a lot of work to be done. Tomorrow's a new day, next week's another start. Obviously I'm happy for the win, happy for the team that we did get a win. But like I said, there's work to be done."