Mets Game 29: Win Over White Sox
Mets 1 White Sox 0
The local boys done good.
Mets Game Notes
It was a great night for players born and raised in the New York Metropolitan area, starting with Connecticut’s Matt Harvey, following with the pride of Newark Hector Santiago, and finishing with walk-off expert and Queens / Whitestone native Mike Baxter.
Harvey was beyond brilliant — he was as close to perfect as a pitcher can get without being perfect. And if only Adrian Johnson were umpiring the first base line, perhaps Harvey would have been perfect.
Not much else to say about Harvey’s performance, other than: how is it fair to the hitters? He had all four pitches working exquisitely, spotted in all four quadrants of the strike zone, and his fastball velocity was often in the 97-98 range. This is Roy Halladay or Tom Seaver in his prime, or near Nolan Ryan with two more pitches. When Harvey is on like this — which has been the case for the majority of his 2013 starts — he’s a joy to watch. Thank you, Omar Minaya, for drafting Mr. Harvey as your parting gift to the organization. The Wilpons should be sending Minaya a monthly stipend; without Harvey, there would be very little reason for anyone to visit Citi Field this summer.
As well as Harvey pitched, Santiago was doing his darnedest to match him. He fell a bit short, but still was impressive, holding the Mets to 4 hits and 2 walks in 7 shutout innings. I understand that Santiago has been a pitcher to watch, but I’m betting that the double excitement of coming home and pitching against Harvey, combined with the element of mystery, had much to do with his performance. I’m not saying he’s not a good pitcher, but rather, that this is as good as he’ll ever pitch.
In the second inning, Ron Darling focused on Santiago’s “change-up” and how he used excessive pronation on it. In fact, I’m fairly certain that what Santiago was throwing is better described as a screwball. And for the record, “screwballs are bad for the arm” is a myth; in fact, the pronation of the hand releases stress from the elbow — the opposite of what’s threatened by the old wives’ tale — and, when thrown properly, the screwball is much safer than any other breaking pitch. In truth, though, it shouldn’t be called a breaking pitch, as it’s really a change-up with more extreme movement.
Lucas Duda struck out twice looking, and seemed perturbed with home plate umpire Dan Iassogna’s strike zone. Without a doubt, Iassogna called this game as a “pitcher’s umpire” consistently for both sides, and in particular was calling many strikes that were perhaps slightly below the knees. Kudos to the moundsmen taking advantage of the lowered strike zone, and shame on the batters who did not make the adjustment. The old school coaches who taught me to hit way back when, always crawed, “with two strikes, you best be hacking if it’s too close to take.” Whatever happened to that approach? It’s hard enough for me to get over guys swinging from their heels on two-strike counts, but even more difficult for me to comprehend batters who think they’re the umpire with two strikes and are comfortable taking pitches just at the edge of the strike zone. It’s one thing to get fooled by a change of velocity or frozen by a filthy deuce, but quite another to see a pitch all the way in and let it go because it’s an inch off the plate. You best be hacking!
Next Mets Game
FYI, I’m traveling for work on Wednesday and Thursday, with an event on Wednesday night and returning late on Thursday so please excuse me if I don’t get a full recap done for the next two games.