For the first time in a long time, it appears a highly touted Mets prospect will actually live up to the hype. Matt Harvey made his long-awaited debut in Arizona Thursday night, and it was a spectacular debut indeed.
The Mets made it easy for Harvey before he even took the mound — Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy led off the game with singles, putting runners on first and third. After David Wright struck out Scott Hairston hit a double to right to score both of them and give Harvey a 2-0 lead with which to work.
Harvey looked good right away, striking out the first batter he faced, Gerardo Parra. He struck out two and allowed an infield hit in the first inning.
In the top of the second Harvey picked up the first hit of his career on his first time up, a liner over the head of the center fielder that went for a double.
Harvey struck out two more batters and allowed a double in the second.
He pitched out of a bit of trouble in the third. With one out he struck out Parra again, but the third strike got past catcher Rob Johnson and Parra was safe at first. It was ruled a wild pitch, but it could have been a passed ball as the pitch never hit the ground. Aaron Hill singled to put runners on first and second. Harvey struck out Jason Kubel for the second out. But while pitching to Paul Goldschmidt, another wild pitch advanced the runners. This time the ball did hit the dirt but Johnson tried to backhand it and failed. Harvey then struck out Goldschmidt to end the inning.
Andres Torres tripled in the fourth and scored on a Johnson sacrifice fly to make it a 3-0 game. Harvey also singled in the inning.
Harvey walked his first batter in the fourth.
He struck out two more batters in the fifth.
In the sixth he walked two batters and was removed from the game with runners on first and second with one out. Josh Edgin was able to close out the inning.
So Harvey went 5.1 scoreless innings, throwing 106 pitches. He set a Mets record with 11 strikeouts in his first game (the old record was eight, by Tom Seaver and Bill Denehy, both in 1967). He allowed just three hits and walked three batters. He also went two-for-two at the plate. You couldn’t ask for more.
Harvey was extremely impressive. He was throwing his fastball in the mid to upper 90s and his slider and curve ball were effective as well. He looked poised and confident, even when he was pitching out of trouble.
Jon Rauch allowed a run in the eighth and Bobby Parnell got a shaky save, walking two batters before striking out Kubel to end the game, as the Mets went on to win 3-1 to stop their losing streak at six games. But this night belonged to Matt Harvey, winning in tremendous fashion his first time out.