Tuesday, July 16, 2013
W2W4: Mets in the All-Star Game
By Mark Simon
A look at some of the statistical storylines for the two Mets All-Stars -- Matt Harvey and David Wright -- tonight.
This will mark the 30th time a Mets pitcher has pitched in the All-Star Game. The 17 other pitchers have thrown a combined 38 2/3 innings and allowed 11 earned runs (a 2.56 ERA).
Harvey will be the youngest to start an All-Star Game since Dwight Gooden, who allowed a combined three runs in six innings in his two previous All-Star starts (1986 and 1988). Tom Seaver threw three scoreless innings in 1970. Those are the only previous All-Star starts for Mets pitchers.
Harvey will be trying to continue a run of Mets pitchers who made successful All-Star debuts. He’ll be the 11th (the first as a starter). The previous 10 allowed no earned runs in 10 2/3 innings, with five hits allowed, 17 strikeouts and four walks.
Harvey is the first pitcher to start the All-Star Game in his home ballpark since Roger Clemens in 2004. That start didn’t go smoothly -- with Mike Piazza catching, Clemens allowed six runs in the first inning.
The top of the AL order will pose a tough challenge, with Harvey having to get through Mike Trout, Robinson Cano and Miguel Cabrera.
Harvey will want to attack Trout at the top of the strike zone, because Trout has been among the sport’s best low-ball hitters the last two seasons. Trout is 9-for-43 (.209 batting average) this season against pitches from right-handers in the upper third of the strike zone, though he did homer against a 98 mph fastball in that area against Kelvin Herrera of the Royals.
Cano went 1-for-4 against Harvey earlier this season, getting a hit on a curve that Harvey hung, popping up and striking out against sliders, and pulling an outside changeup on the ground to first base.
It should be noted that Cano is mashing off-speed pitches from righties this season. He’s one of three hitters with 10 or more home runs against curves, sliders and changeups from righties, along with the next two hitters Harvey would face -- Cabrera and Chris Davis.
Cabrera, bidding for his second straight Triple Crown season, is hitting .350 against right-handed pitching. His statistical “weaknesses” are fastballs at the top of the strike zone or above, and perfectly placed breaking balls on the outside corner. But throwing those pitches is easier said than done.
This will be Wright's record-setting seventh All-Star Game as a Met. Tom Seaver, Darryl Strawberry and Mike Piazza all played in six.
Wright holds the Mets' All-Star record for hits with six, but has only one RBI (a home run against Kenny Rogers). The only player to have multiple career RBIs as a Met in All-Star play was Lee Mazzilli, who had the tying and go-ahead RBIs in the 1979 All-Star Game.
Wright will be trying to be the first player to homer in his home ballpark in the All-Star Game since Chipper Jones did so in 2000.
Wright has three prior plate appearances against Max Scherzer -- a fly out, a strikeout and a walk, with the most recent coming in 2009.
Wright will be the third Mets hitter to start as the cleanup hitter in an All-Star Game, an honor shared with Gary Carter (0-for-3 in 1986) and Strawberry (1-for-4 in 1988).
Elias notes that The 2013 Mets are the third All-Star Game host team to have the game's starting pitcher-- Matt Harvey -- and starting cleanup hitter-- David Wright.
The other 2 are the 1939 Yankees (pitcher Red Ruffing, cleanup hitter Bill Dickey) and 1960 Yankees (pitcher Whitey Ford, cleanup hitter Mickey Mantle)