Showing posts with label Matt Harvey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Matt Harvey. Show all posts

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Mets complete NLCS sweep of Cubs

Daniel Murphy is the first player in baseball history with at least four total bases in six consecutive postseason games. That's probably because he's first player to hit a home run in six consecutive playoff games. The New York second baseman took Cubs reliever Fernando Rodney deep in the top of the eighth inning Wednesday night to set that record, as the Mets beat the Cubs, 8-3, to complete a four-game sweep of the National League Championship Series.

New York will face the Kansas City-Toronto winner in the World Series.

It's getting late, so I'll just offer a few bullet points from this game:

  • Why on earth did Cubs manager Joe Maddon start Jason Hammel in a do-or-die game? Granted, Jon Lester on short rest is no sure bet, but nobody should be surprised that Hammel got pummeled. He gave up five runs, all earned, in just 1.1 innings. The Cubs were behind 4-0 just six batters into the game, and the crowd at Wrigley Field was full of long, ashen faces. That was a nightmarish start for the Cubs, and a dream come true for anyone cheering for the Mets. Maddon is considered a genius by many in the Chicago media, but starting Hammel is this game was a terrible move, an indefensible decision.
  • Power pitching will always beat power hitting. The Cubs have a lineup full of dangerous hitters, but they can't score if they don't hit home runs. The Mets outhomered the Cubs, 3-1, on Wednesday and 7-4 in the series. The Mets have four quality pitchers in Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz. Those power arms in the New York rotation gave up a grand total of six runs to Cubs hitters in four games. For the most part, they kept the Cubs in the park and off the scoreboard. As a team, the Cubs hit just .164 in the four-game series.
  • Enough with the silly Cubs narratives, man. A lot of people ask me why so many White Sox fans (such as myself) refuse to cheer for the Cubs. Well, there are a couple reasons, but most of all, I'm weary of the storylines that seem to follow the Cubs. I'm tired of hearing about omens and curses and black cats and "Maddon magic" and various other hocus-pocus. Movie scripts that were written decades ago should not be taken as prophecy. The Red Sox rallying from 3-0 down in the 2004 ALCS has nothing to do with the 2015 NLCS. Nothing. There are no dead people looking down from heaven to make a ball disappear in the ivy. None of these extraneous factors have any impact on the outcome of ballgames.
Remember, the Cubs did not lose to the Mets because they are cursed. They lost because New York is a better team than they are. In fact, the Cubs are not cursed at all. They haven't won the World Series in 107 years because they've never fielded a good enough team to get the job done. 

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.