Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Matt Harvey was near perfect against the White Sox

Matt Harvey accomplished something that hasn't been done in a long time Tuesday night against the White Sox.

The New York Mets right-hander is the only player in the modern era (since 1900) to pitch nine innings with at least 12 strikeouts allowing no walks and only one hit with no-decision, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The Mets won the game 1-0 in 10 innings. If you watched this contest, you know the Sox are damn lucky they didn't fall victim to a perfect game. The South Siders managed only one hit over the 10 innings, an infield single by Alex Rios in the seventh inning.

How dominant was Harvey? He retired 27 of the 28 batters he faced. He began the outing by retiring 20 in a row, throwing first-pitch strike to 16 of them. He did not have a 2-0 count on any batter until the seventh inning.

When Harvey gets ahead in the count, he usually wins the battle. Hitters have a .088 batting average (9-for-102) against Harvey this season when he throws first-pitch strike. Rios did come up with his scratch single after an 0-1 count, but you get the point. The Sox didn't have much chance at all against this guy.

I know what you're thinking. You're saying, "The White Sox are a terrible offensive team. Doesn't everybody dominate them?"

The point is not without merit. The Sox have the lowest team batting average in the league (.223). They have the lowest on-base percentage in the league (.276). They have drawn the fewest walks in the league (70). They have scored the fewest runs in the league (104), and the next closest team (Seattle) is a good 14 runs ahead of them.

Forget about Matt Harvey. Right about now, Sox fans are feeling like PJ Harvey could dominate this group of hitters, assuming she has a halfway decent changeup. Heck, maybe even Paul Harvey could shut down the Sox, and he's been dead for over four years.

When you watch the Sox, it's getting harder and harder to judge whether the opposing pitcher is really that good, or if the Sox hitters are just that bad. Fans are tired of "tipping their cap" to every guy who takes the mound, and justifiably so.

However, in this particular case, I'm afraid there is no choice but to give Harvey his props. He was really impressive. You may not see a better game pitched against the Sox all season. I'll predict that this was one of the better games you'll see pitched all year by anyone, against any team. It was that good. You have to give credit where credit is due.

For the Sox, there is no shame in getting shut down by Matt Harvey. The problem with this team is they are also getting shut down by the Vance Worleys and Zach McAllisters of the world. The mediocre guys, those are the pitchers you need to hit. Beat those guys, and it makes "tipping your cap" to the likes of Matt Harvey a lot less painful.

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