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Friday, April 19, 2013
Harvey ace-like ... again

By Mark Simon



New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey said earlier this week that he was very keyed up to match up with Washington Nationals starter on Friday night.

Thus far this season, Harvey has proven to be the better of the two and Friday did nothing to change that.

Let’s run through the accolades for Harvey, whose 102 strikeouts in his first 14 apearances are the third-most in Mets history, trailing only Dwight Gooden (107) and Nolan Ryan (103).

What made him so good on Friday?
Harvey clearly was keyed up. He averaged a career-high 96.3 MPH on his fastball, and was able to do so without overthrowing.

He threw his heater for strikes at a 75 percent rate, the second-best strike rate he’s had with the pitch in any start. In fact, this was the first start in Harvey’s career in which more than half of the fastballs taken by the opposing team were called strikes (15 of 29).

The Nationals gave Harvey a lefty-laden lineup to face and he retired 14 of the 17 left-handed hitters.

Lefties are 6-for-60 with five walks against Harvey this season. Bryce Harper was 0-for-3 against Harvey and is 0-for-6 against him for his career.

Harvey had a very sharp breaking slider on Friday. He threw the pitch 26 times (the most he’s thrown it in any start) and got six outs with it, yielding just one baserunner.

How does he compare to his teammates?
Harvey is 4-0 with an 0.93 ERA and 0.66 WHIP, with 32 strikeouts in his four starts this season.

The other Mets starters are 2-6 with a 5.68 ERA and 1.68 WHIP, with 36 strikeouts in 11 starts.

How does Harvey compare to Strasburg?
On this night, Harvey was better than his mound counterpart.

Strasburg has now lost three straight starts for the second time in his career.

Strasburg allowed a 438-foot home run to Luca Duda and a 427-foot homer to Ike Davis, the two longest of his career.

Our video-review service credited the Mets with six “hard-hit” balls against Strasburg and only one against Harvey (Harper’s line drive that was caught by centerfielder Jordany Valdespin.

For the season, Harvey has been the better of the two pitchers in just about every respect. We’ve placed some of their numbers in the chart on the right to show notable areas in which Harvey has an edge.

All good streaks must come to an end
Two streaks of note concluded in this contest —- one being the Nationals eight-game win streak at Citi Field. It was their longest road winning streak against the Mets.

The other was a run of four straight Harvey starts dating back to last season in which he pitched at least seven innings, allowing one run or fewer and three hits or fewer. The Elias Sports Bureau tells us that he’s the only pitcher since 1900 to have four straight such appearances.

The new streak to look at is this one. Harvey has now made five straight starts in which he pitched at least seven innings, allowing one run or fewer and four hits or fewer.

The only pitcher to do that in the last 25 seasons was a pretty good one—Randy Johnson in 1997.

Stat of the Night
Harvey is the second pitcher in Mets history to win each of his first four starts of a season while allowing one earned run or fewer in each start.

David Cone did it in his first five starts in 1988.