Friday, July 27, 2012
Clearing the bases: Harvey, Marte impress
By David Schoenfield
First base: Hard-throwin' Harvey. Mets fans will be screaming that the club should have called up Matt Harvey weeks ago after his dominating major league debut. Harvey sets a Mets record with 11 strikeouts in his debut and did so in just 5.1 innings. Harvey was in the mid-90s and nine of the strikeouts were swinging. As former Diamondbacks announcer Mark Grace told the Mets broadcast crew after Harvey was removed, he hadn't seen a pitcher in a long time blow low fastballs by hitters like Harvey did. He topped out at 97 mph, mixed in a slider, curve and a couple changeups and wasn't afraid to pitch inside to Arizona's right-handed batters. Very impressive. To top it off, he singled and doubled and the bullpen actually held on for a 3-1 victory. His delivery isn't the smoothest you'll see and he did walk three (two in the sixth inning as he tired, however) while throwing 106 pitches, but Harvey looks like the most exciting homegrown Mets pitching prospect since ... well, since Dwight Gooden.
Second base: Star-studded debut. Desperate for offense from the outfield corners, the Pirates finally called up prospect Starling Marte, who was hitting .286/.347/.500 with 46 extra-base hits at Triple-A Indianapolis. The 23-year-old Dominican was inserted in the leadoff spot, swung at the first pitch of the game against Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel ... and homered with a 392-foot blast to left-center to set the tone in Pittsburgh's 5-3 victory. "I told some players in the dugout before the game that if he threw a fastball down the middle I was going to take a hack at it and that's exactly what I did," Marte said. In his second at-bat, he fouled off three two-strike pitches before flying out to center field. After falling behind two strikes in his third at-bat he worked the count to 2-2 and singled to left. He flied out to left in his final at-bat.
Third base: Woeful Astros. Speaking of the Astros ... wow, what a lineup they're fielding these days. I know it's complete rebuild job but minor league veterans Justin Maxwell and Scott Moore were hitting third and fourth. The Astros are now 2-20 in July and 2-23 over the past 25 games. The good news for the Pirates: They still have nine more games against Houston.
Home plate: Tweet of the day. Another game at Safeco ... and another without much offense! Jason Vargas allowed just one hit over eight innings, leading to this tweet: