Friday, April 19, 2013
Nationals praise Harvey
By Matt Ehalt
As Washington Nationals infielder Chad Tracy dissected the dynamic arsenal that makes New York Nets starter Matt Harvey so effective, he projected into the future for a moment.
"That guy is going to be really good," Tracy said.
Barely a second later, Tracy amended that statement to reflect Harvey's outing Friday.
"He's already really good," he said.
Washington's hitters were complimentary and impressed with Harvey's repertoire after he held them to one run in seven innings in the Mets' 7-1 win Friday. Harvey gave up just four hits while striking out seven, and worked out of a bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the seventh.
"He's got electric stuff," Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond said. "He's an ace."
Several Nationals said Harvey had "good stuff," complimenting him for his array of pitches. Friday, Harvey used his fastball, which consistently clocked in the upper 90s, a curveball and changeup that sat in the low 80s, and a slider that bounced between the high 80s/low 90s.
Harvey consistently got ahead on Washington's hitters Friday and then used all his pitches to keep them guessing at the plate. He started from the first batter, as his second pitch to leadoff hitter Denard Span was an 83-mph curveball, and then Harvey blew a 99-mph heater past the center fielder.
"The guy's throwing 97-98 miles per hour and he can locate his off-speed pitches for strikes too," Tracy said. "That just makes him even more effective."
The Nationals did have one chance to solve Harvey as they loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh while trailing 4-1, but they missed their golden opportunity. Kurt Suzuki struck out on a slider and pinch-hitter Roger Bernadina fouled out. Span, who collected one of the four Washington hits versus Harvey, grounded out on Harvey's 105th and final pitch to end the threat.
"I thought he threw the ball good," Washington manager Davey Johnson said. "He's a good young pitcher. I'm impressed. He had a lot of things working good for him and he made a lot of quality pitches. We had our chance and we didn't capitalize."
For as impressed as the Nationals were with Harvey, Desmond, as well as opposing pitcher Stephen Strasburg, both mentioned the lack of at-bats the squad has had against him. Entering the game, no Nationals hitter had more than three at-bats against Harvey, as he had faced them just once before on Sept. 12, 2012, when Harvey gave up one run in five innings and struck out 10 in a loss.
When the Nationals see Harvey again, it's going to be up to them to make adjustments so they don't have a repeat of Friday. Otherwise, Harvey could make life very difficult on them for years to come.
"It kind of takes time to get to know who you're facing," Desmond said. "He's on a hot streak right now. We're trying to hit that hot streak, going a little bit hot, a little bit cold. He's got good stuff."