Matt Harvey allowed one hit with a career-high 12 strikeouts over nine innings last night.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first player since 1900 to pitch 9 innings with 12 or more strikeouts, while allowing no walks and only one hit, and get a no decision. Legendary statistician Bill James declared last night the second best nine-inning start in team history.
“Everything was obviously working,” Harvey said after the game. “When I can throw my slider for a strike and also bounce it when I need to, that’s when it starts getting fun. That was definitely the best I felt all year.”
Harvey retired the first 20 batters he faced before allowing an infield single to Alex Rios with two outs in the seventh. He retired the final seven batters and pitched in the ninth inning for the first time in his big league career.
It's becoming so difficult to describe these outings for Harvey. Just when you think he can't possibly pitch any better, he does. Harvey has not only lived up to the hype, he's embraced it and taken his potential to another level. What's more amazing is he's been able to do all of this in fewer than 20 career starts in the big leagues.
He put the entire package together against the White Sox last night: he was efficient and crisp and showed an ability to finesse with his power stuff. He was in complete command of his tailing fastball, but he was also able to devastate the White Sox with a filthy slider and both his curveball and change-up.
"It seems like every time we talk about this guy, there's something new and different," Terry Collins said after the game. "To pound the strike zone like he did today, you just don't see young guys do that. In the fifth inning I said I think tonight he's going to pitch a no-hitter. Really impressive."
He is the best pitcher in baseball right now. Period. Yes, Zack Wheeler has better raw stuff than Harvey. However, it's hard for anyone being better than Harvey is right now. For a young, homegrown pitcher, he has created an aura that hasn't existed around here since Dwight Gooden. There's no telling if Wheeler will be able to pull off what Harvey has done, but it's impossible to keep from being getting excited about what these two pitchers might be able to fulfill during the next 10 years or so.
[sny-accordion title="Statistics and information on Harvey, his start last night, and his career to date..."]
- Harvey became the first pitcher since Francisco Cordova in 1997 to pitch nine innings or more, strike out ten or more batters and take a no-decision.
- In three of his first 17 career games, Matt Harvey has allowed one hit and thrown at least seven innings, the most such games in the major leagues since 1916.
- Harvey pitched to a Game Score of 97, which is the highest mark recorded by any pitcher in baseball in 2013.
- According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Harvey is first pitcher in the last 100 years with at least 125 strikeouts and 25 or fewer earned runs allowed in his first 17 career big league starts.
- Harvey's 12 strikeouts last night was the fourth time he's struck out ten or more batters in his career. The only Mets pitcher with more double-digit strikeout games in their first 17 career games was Dwight Gooden, who had six such games…Nolan Ryan also had four.
- Harvey's 128 strikeouts over his first 17 career games is the second-highest total through a player’s first 17 career games in franchise history - Dwight Gooden struck out 133 in his first 17 games in 1984.
- Harvey and Bobby Parnell combined to allow only one base runner in ten innings last night. The only other team to do that since 1916 are the Montreal Expos, who allowed one base runner in a 1-0, 10-inning win over San Diego on June 3, 1995.