Matt Harvey, Max Scherzer on hill
NEW YORK -- Right-hander Matt Harvey's first full season in the majors has been highlighted by three flirtations with no-hitters, New York Mets fans anointing days he pitches as "Harvey Day," and a photo shoot for ESPN The Magazine's "Body Issue." It also will include becoming the first major league pitcher in nine years to start an All-Star Game in his home ballpark.
National League manager Bruce Bochy named Harvey as the NL starter for Tuesday night's game at Citi Field. American League counterpart Jim Leyland said his own guy, Detroit Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer, will start for the AL.
The last pitcher to start an All-Star Game in his home ballpark was Roger Clemens with Houston in 2004.
Harvey will join Clemens as well as Esteban Loaiza (Chicago, 2003), Pedro Martinez (Boston, 1999) and Steve Rogers (Montreal, 1982) as the only pitchers to start an All-Star Game at home since expansion in 1961, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
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"What a tremendous year he's had," Bochy said of Harvey. "It really wouldn't have mattered what city we were playing in; with the year that he's had, the impressive numbers that he's put up, he would have been the starting pitcher."
Among NL qualifiers, Harvey ranks first in strikeouts (147), second in WHIP (0.92) and third in ERA (2.35) and opponent batting average (.196). He has taken three no-hit bids into the seventh inning this season. Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star Clayton Kershaw didn't sound pleased with Bochy saying Harvey merited starting regardless of venue, tersely saying that was Bochy's opinion. Kershaw tops MLB ERA at 1.98 and WHIP at 0.91.
Kershaw added he would enjoy starting an All-Star Game.
"It's not a goal. I don't really set goals," Kershaw said. "I don't have any goals. It would be cool. I would like to do it. It would be fun."
Harvey said he came into the season motivated to step up and fill the void created by reigning Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey's departure. Dickey was traded to the Blue Jays in December.
"It was a role I wanted to take and something I took pride in," Harvey said. "Having this opportunity and getting the nod is one step closer. I'm very proud of it, and obviously it's more drive to keep going and hopefully not make this my last All-Star Game."
Bochy and Leyland also announced their starting lineups. The NL will have Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips leading off, followed by St. Louis right fielder Carlos Beltran, Reds first baseman Joey Votto and Mets third baseman David Wright,
"Now if you're the captain of the Home Run Derby you have to hit cleanup," Bochy joked, referring to Wright.
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Colorado left fielder Carlos Gonzalez, will anchor the bottom of the NL lineup, followed by Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado designated hitter Michael Cuddyer and Washington center fielder Bryce Harper.
The AL will have the Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout in left field and leading off, followed by New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera, Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis, Toronto right fielder Jose Bautista, Boston designated hitter David Ortiz, Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer and Baltimore shortstop J.J. Hardy.
Mets officials had Harvey skip his final first-half start, Saturday in Pittsburgh. The Mets portrayed the motivation as limiting Harvey's season-innings count and allowing a blister to heal, not to preserve his eligibility to start the All-Star Game. Mets manager Terry Collins said Sunday that Harvey's blister, underneath the nail on the ace's right index finger, has healed.
Harvey's innings count will be capped at about 220 this season; his current stands at 130 innings.
It marks the fourth time a Met has started an All-Star Game at pitcher. Harvey joins Dwight Gooden (1986 and '88) and Tom Seaver (1970). Harvey becomes the first Met selected in his first full season in the majors since Gooden and Darryl Strawberry in 1984, although Strawberry got 420 at-bats the previous season.
Gooden has been tweeting Harvey's strikeout total during games each time Harvey records a K this season.
"The support that Doc's been giving me all year has been pretty special," Harvey said. "To be named with those two guys, they're two of the best."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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