Mets Rookie Matt Harvey Draws High Praise After 11-Strikeout Debut
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PHOENIX (WFAN/AP) — Matt Harvey gave the Mets a brilliant ray of hope Thursday night.
The heralded 24-year-old dazzled in his major league debut, holding Arizona to three hits and striking out 11 over 5 1-3 innings in New York’s 3-1 win over the Diamondbacks.
“When I was warming up I looked around and kind of took everything in,” Harvey said. “At that moment I really did believe that I was meant to pitch in the big leagues. It was everything I could have imagined. I just wanted to do everything I could to keep the team in a winning distance.”
Listen: Harvey with WFAN’s Ed Coleman
Some of his teammates took to Twitter to rave about the performance.
“Congrats to Matt Harvey. Awesome debut. What a great night for him and the mets,” wrote R.A. Dickey.
Justin Turner posted: “No I didn’t get @MattHarvey43 with a pie, but we did (greet) him back into the clubhouse with a ‘beverage’ shower.”
Harvey, the Mets’ top pick in the 2010 draft, set a franchise record for strikeouts in a debut. He also doubled and singled to become the first pitcher since 1900 to strike out more than 10 and collect a pair of hits in his first game.
“If things don’t work out as a pitcher he should become a hitter,” said Miguel Montero, who had one of the Diamondbacks’ three hits against the rookie.
Harvey allowed only Jason Kubel’s soft single through the third base hole, vacated on an infield shift, a double to Montero on a changeup in the second and Aaron Hill’s one out single in the third.
Harvey threw 106 pitches, 65 for strikes — including his first two.
“He lived up to exactly what everybody has talked about him,” said Mets manager Terry Collins. “Now I want him to go out the next time and be a little more comfortable yet pitch as effectively as he did today. He is a different cat.”
Gerardo Parra, who reached base on a wild pitch after striking out, was the only Arizona hitter to reach third against Harvey.
While the Diamondbacks praised Harvey’s poise, catcher Rob Johnson could see some adrenaline at work.
“I think he was pretty amped up,” Johnson said. “The good thing about it was he was amped up down in the zone. It felt like he felt like he belonged here.”
It was a rough spot for an unproven prospect, but Harvey was able to stop the Mets’ six-game losing streak.
”I like this guy a lot,” Collins said. “I liked him the first time I ever met him.”
He added: “I always go back to a thing Wade Boggs told me one time: ‘Few men dare to be great.’ This guy wants to be great.”
New York, which is beginning an 11-game road trip, won for only the second time in 13 games since the All-Star break, narrowly avoiding the fate of the 1962 club that went 1-14 to start the second half.
“It’s been a tough stretch,” Hairston said. “Then to start a long road trip, it was good to get the win.”
With Harvey keeping the Diamondbacks in check, the Mets looked like an entirely different club than they had been since the All-Star break.
Ruben Tejada led off the game with a single to center, went to third on Daniel Murphy’s single to center and scored on Hairston’s two-run double off the right field wall.
“It’s a boost for everybody,” Collins said. “But he’s only going to pitch every five days. We need to do a lot more things to win games.”
NOTES: Harvey became the first Mets pitcher to get a pair of hits in his debut since David West on Sept. 24, 1988. Harvey is the 20th player from the 2010 draft to appear in a major league game, and joined Josh Edgin as the second Mets player from that draft to make his debut. … Torres’ triple snapped an 0-for-14 streak. … New York had allowed four or more runs in each of their past 13 games, the second-longest streak in franchise history. … Montero has hit safely in 15 of his past 18 home games. … Arizona CF Chris Young, who has hit .294 since the All-Star break to raise his average to .218, was given the night off in favor of the left-handed Parra. … Before the game, the Mets recalled Johnson from Triple-A Buffalo to take the place of Mike Nickeas, who was optioned to Buffalo after Wednesday’s loss. … LHP Jonathan Niese will take the mound for the Mets on Friday against RHP Josh Collmenter. Niese gave up three earned runs in five innings in his only previous start at Chase Field.
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