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Monday, July 1, 2013
The series in Metrics (Mets vs. Nationals)

By Mark Simon

Let's center our recap of the Mets' series loss to the Washington Nationals around the team's three starting pitchers, since their performances were the most notable.

Harvey's great start
Matt Harvey became the first pitcher in Mets history to have two starts in a season in which he allowed no runs or one run, three hits or fewer, struck out at least 11 and walked none. Amazingly, he got no-decisions in both of those games, the other coming against the Chicago White Sox.

The Mets have now had 10 such games in franchise history, with half of them accounted for by Harvey's pair and Tom Seaver's three.

Harvey is one of seven pitchers in Mets history with at least three appearances in which he struck out at least 10 and walked none.

He joined Tom Seaver (1971), Jon Matlack (1974) and R.A. Dickey (2012) as the only Mets pitchers with three such starts in a season.

Harvey averaged 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings in 39 innings in June. The only other Mets pitcher in the last 20 seasons to average 11 strikeouts per 9 innings over that many innings in a calendar month was Pedro Martinez, who averaged 11.8 in 42 innings.

Martinez could sympathize with Harvey's lack of run support. That month, he was 0-1 in six starts, despite a 2.14 ERA.

Harvey threw 65 fastballs on Friday and did not allow a baserunner with the pitch. Over the past two starts, he has thrown 114 fastballs on which he netted 22 outs and yielded only one baserunner.

Gee's good start
Dillon Gee continued his run of really good starts against the Nationals with his win on Saturday.

He's 3-0 with an 0.96 ERA against the Nationals, 3-7 with a 5.55 ERA against all other teams this season.

Gee will have a legit shot to match the Mets' single-season record for wins against the Expos/Nationals franchise. The mark of four is shared by Frank Viola (1991), Tom Glavine (2004) and Roberto Hernandez (2005).

This win could largely be credited to Gee's changeup, which netted him 11 outs on 23 pitches, thanks to two double plays.

Wheeler's shaky start
Zack Wheeler suffered his first major-league loss on Sunday, allowing five runs in 4 2/3 innings.

Wheeler had a dominant first inning, with a fastball averaging 96.1 mph, but averaged below 95 mph in each of the next four innings, with a low of 92.9 in the fifth inning.

Wheeler had allowed four hits on the 145 fastballs he threw in his first two starts. He allowed five, including two homers, on the 59 he threw on Sunday afternoon.

We mentioned that Wheeler's big challenge would be Adam LaRoche, who entered with the most homers in the majors on pitches of 95-plus mph over the last two seasons. The home run against Wheeler was LaRoche's eighth in that span.