Matt Harvey was everything he was expected to be and more Friday night, as the New York Mets beat the Washington Nationals in the highly anticipated pitching matchup between Harvey and Stephen Strasberg. Harvey was dominant once again while Strasberg fell just short of dominant, and that was the difference in the game.
Harvey was nearly flawless for the first six innings of the game, giving up just two hits over that span. His fastball was even more electric than it’s been during his first three starts of the season, which went well with some wicked action on his slider. With hitters like Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth, the Nationals lineup is a lot more potent than the lineups Harvey has faced previously this season, but he handled them just as easily.
Harvey did experience some trouble in the 7th inning, as he gave up a run before an error made by his defense left him with the bases loaded and nobody out. But Harvey, still throwing in the mid to upper 90’s, retired three consecutive batters to get out of the inning.
Strasberg was also victimized by his defense, as the first batter he faced reached on an error. With a wild pitch added to the equation, Strasberg couldn’t escape the 1st inning without allowing two unearned runs. Later in the game, he gave up a pair of towering homeruns to Ike Davis and Lucas Duda in a span of three batters, which prompted chants of “Harvey’s better” from the Citi Field faithful.
The two differences between Harvey and Strasberg on this night was that Strasberg couldn’t overcome bad defense behind him while Harvey did, and Strasberg allowed two of the Mets power hitters to take him deep while Harvey didn’t. So in the first of many matchups between Harvey and Strasberg, the advantage goes to Harvey and the Mets.