4/22/13

A Night at Citi: Watching Harvey Work

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Weather forecast be damned, there was no way I was missing Matt Harvey against Stephen Strasburg. Winds were swirling and a fog was constantly rolling through the stadium, but that wouldn't deter me or the rest of the 26,000 plus fans from Friday night's game. I was even worried about potential thunderstorms. At first pitch there wasn't a drop of rain, but Matt Harvey certainly brought the thunder.

Collecting his fourth win of the season, Matt Harvey didn't disappoint anyone watching the game with 7 strikeouts in 7 innings of work, capping off his night by collecting three outs after loading the bases. The crowd was admittedly nervous as the bases became full. Our golden boy had fallen into some trouble and we were all worried that this game would end in gut wrenching fashion for our #2 starter. But this isn't the #2 starter of old. Gone are the days of the palm licking, nervous demeanor of Mike Pelfrey. The days of Matt Harvey staring in for the sign, seemingly unfazed by the moment are here.

It is easy to forget that Harvey is still so young after watching what transpired. He showed such poise on the mound and the crowd at Citi Field was behind him for every pitch. The crowd's confidence was swelling after Kurt Suzuki struck out. The fans were hanging on his every move. Chants of "Har-vey Har-vey" began to rise. He then coaxed a weak pop-up from Roger Bernadina for the second out  and as soon as Daniel Murphy threw Denard Span at first, the crowd, and even Harvey himself, couldn't help but erupt with passion that has been long absent in Flushing. The chants of "Har-vey" remained long after he strode into the dugout.

Earlier in the game, another chant arose from the crowd after Strasburg gave up solo home runs to Ike Davis and Lucas Duda. "Harvey's better" started throughout the stadium and right now, that chant is tough to argue against. Harvey has an ERA under 1.00. He has struck out 32 batters in 29 innings. He has allowed only 19 total base runners; good for a WHIP of .66. Numbers like that will make anyone, even Stephen Strasburg seem overrated.

Watching Matt Harvey pitch live was exhilarating. His stuff alone is worth the price of admission and it has been quite some time that any Met has given us that feeling. When he is consistently pumping 96 mph fastballs and up, while confusing hitters with his dangerous slider, he has shown he can be nearly unhittable. The rest of the league is finding that out the hard way.

In the midst of the actual game, news from Boston was what got Mets fans to chant the loudest. At around 9:30, it was announced that Boston authorities apprehended Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the second of two brothers involved in the Boston Marathon bombings. Fan's chants of "U-S-A" celebrated the moment and reminded us that sports are merely an escape from a sometimes harsh world. I will never forget Friday's events and my thoughts are still with Boston and all those affected.

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