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Harvey has earned respect of National League peers

NEW YORK -- During his time working on Bruce Bochy's coaching staff at the All-Star Game, manager Terry Collins took the opportunity to get an assessment on Matt Harvey from a few of the National League's best players.

All of them complimented Harvey, for good reason. But the one from Cardinals outfielder -- and former Met -- Carlos Beltran stood out.

"I was talking to Carlos the other day in the outfield, and I asked him [about facing Harvey]," Collins said. "He said, 'Terry, in my career, he's the best I've ever faced.' That's a big statement from a guy who's faced the best of the best, in my opinion."

Harvey, who started against the Phillies on Sunday, is 7-2 with a 2.45 ERA in 19 starts this season, and he has 147 strikeouts in 130 innings. He's taken the Major Leagues by storm, earning the All-Star Game start at Citi Field in his first full season.

All of the players to whom Collins spoke lauded Harvey, but Collins said that even with all the praise, he wants Harvey to know his job is to get outs, and that he doesn't have to throw 98 mph each time to get them.

"Each and every start is important to him. I don't want this guy to think every time he goes out there he's got to be throwing 100 mph," he said. "Get outs. Whether they're 94 mph or 98 mph, get outs."

Some All-Stars told Collins that Harvey is so good it's almost unfair. Harvey can throw any of his pitches at any time because his command is so good. It could be a 3-1 count -- a typical fastball count -- but Harvey can throw a secondary pitch for a strike instead.

The high praise for Harvey isn't new, but to hear it coming from some of the best players in the NL means something extra.

"I just think it's a tremendous tribute to Matt and his stuff and how he competes," Collins said. "That's why every five days, it's an event."

Chris Iseman is an associate reporter for
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