Mets righty limits crosstown rivals to one run over eight innings, strikes out 10
NEW YORK -- For one hour and 31 minutes, the Mets had to bide their time in the clubhouse. A storm over New York pushed the start time back, leaving Matt Harvey with plenty of time for the anticipation to build before facing the Yankees for the first time.
Harvey was "off," as catcher John Buck put it, but it kept him energized. He jumped around the clubhouse in a hockey jersey ahead of perhaps his biggest start yet.
"I was probably making all the guys pretty angry with the jumping around," Harvey said, "but I was excited to get out there."
The hard-throwing righty touched 97 mph in the first inning to set the tone. He didn't factor in the decision in the Mets' 2-1 comeback win over the Yankees despite his eight innings of 10-strikeout, one-run work at Citi Field.
He kept the Mets in the game despite the lack of run support and added to his unblemished National League Cy Young Award-worthy resume. He lowered his ERA to 1.85 and increased his strikeout total to 84.
"A lot of times when adrenaline's flowing that much before the game starts, I was a little concerned how he was going to get ready," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "But he gets ready."
Harvey made just one costly mistake -- leaving a changeup a bit up to Yankees first baseman Lyle Overbay, who singled home the game's first run in the sixth. He slammed down his glove as he walked into the dugout. One mistake was all it took to tick off the perfectionist pitcher.
When he came out of the game, he talked with Buck and dwelt on the mistakes -- the pitch or two that he missed -- he'll work on his next time out. After his previous start, Harvey decided to focus on pitch efficiency. On Tuesday, 80 of his 114 pitches were strikes.
"He not only pitches well," Buck said, "he wants to get better."
Buck could only recall one pitcher he's caught with a similar level of hype.
The catcher came up with the Royals a rookie in 2004 with Zack Greinke. Five years later, he split time behind the plate during the Kansas City righty's Cy Young Award campaign. They handle things differently -- Greinke rarely talks whereas Harvey can just "zone it all out and lock in" -- but the results have largely been the same. For Harvey, it's because of his ultra-competitive nature. When the offseason comes and it's time to improve again, he'll have one thing on his mind.
"Ninth inning. You've got to push through," Harvey said. "I don't like giving up the ball. In my mind, it [stinks], but you've got to push through."
David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com.