Matt Harvey did it again. In just his 17th career start for the New York Mets, Harvey pitched an absolute gem, coming painfully close to perfection. Just 24 days ago, Harvey was seven outs away from pitching a no-hitter against the Minnesota Twins. On Tuesday night, he came just seven outs away from pitching a perfect game against the Chicago White Sox.
As he’s done several times this year, Harvey redefined the phrase “best start of his career”. After getting a few extra days of rest following all of the Mets recent off days, there was concern that Harvey might not be as sharp. But against the White Sox, he was as sharp as can be. He kept his pitch count low, being as economical with his pitches as he’s ever been, but still managed to strike out 12 batters, a new career high.
Harvey faced 28 batters and retired 27 of them. The lone blemish of the night was an infield single by Alex Rios. Had Rios been one step slower, had the arm of Ruben Tejada been a tad stronger — despite making a great jumping throw that was on target — or had Rios hit the ball just a little harder or more up the middle, Harvey would have been perfect through nine full innings. Baseball is truly a game of inches, and Harvey was just a couple inches from perfect.
Alas, it wasn’t meant to be for Harvey on this night, and probably for the better. Despite another dominant outing on the mound by Harvey, the Mets failed to score a run in support of him during the first nine innings of the game. Although, credit is due to Chicago starter Hector Santiago, who matched Harvey’s scoreless outing for seven innings. But leave it to the Mets to watch a pitcher come within inches of perfection and not give him the run support to even win the game.
He may not have gotten the win and he may not have been perfect on this night, but Harvey was awfully close, and it seems like it’s just a matter of time until he achieves baseball immortality and puts his name in the Mets record book.