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

This is a quick series, as it will be concluded on Wednesday. Game time is 7:10 p.m. and pits Jeremy Hefner vs. Jake Peavy.

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.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. gary s May 8, 2013 at 2:28 am
    Wow.. I was at game tonite.Matt Harvey is amazing!!! If Wheeler is half as good, that will give us 2 reasons to go to a home game..
  2. Dan42 May 8, 2013 at 5:38 am
    With only 2 hitters in the lineup with a BA over .250 it’s not surprising that a run wasn’t scored to get Harvey a win for his masterpiece.
  3. Mic May 8, 2013 at 5:50 am
    All season the commentary has been the Mets have Harvey and Niese and nothing else. This latest gem must really make the other rotation starters look bad.

    AND now the line up looks horrific!!! There is no offense to speak of in this Mets line-up. NONE.

  4. argonbunnies May 8, 2013 at 6:34 am
    One of the three best games I’ve seen by a pitcher in the last several years (the other two being Dickey’s one-hitter against the Rays and Lincecum’s shutout of the Braves in the 2010 playoffs). In their perfectos, Braden, Cain, Humber, Felix and Halladay all had some luck and some help from their defense or the umpires. Harvey had maybe one key ball called a strike, and that was it. Utter domination.

    If Tejada gets to Rios’ ball an instant sooner, does Harvey start the 10th? The 9th was by far his shakiest inning. Either option (pull him or leave him) would have given Terry nightmares.

    Joe, as for the screwball, I’ve heard that back before we were born, a LH screwball exactly mimicked a RH curveball. That is the pitch that was bad for the arm, as shown by Carl Hubbel’s palm permanently facing away from his legs (when he let his arm dangle) after he retired (or so he claimed).

  5. Izzy May 8, 2013 at 8:23 am
    Well, the Mets do their best when most sport fans are watching the Knicks (or the Rangers or even the Islanders). Oh well, playoffs do end and then the Mets can get all the attention they deserve, or don’t deserve. Anyone think the Mets will be playing meaningful games after game 162?
  6. gary s May 8, 2013 at 8:43 am
    Ironic moment of game. On the infield hit, that Tejada backhanded and made a jump throw to first on, Jose Reyes plants his feet and guns out the runner by half a step. That play was routine for Reyes .Oh well, such is life. If you posters have not gone to see Harvey in person, buy a ticket in the future when he pitches. The sound alone of the ball hitting the glove is worth the price of admission.
    • Joe May 8, 2013 at 11:13 am
      Reyes is doing what at the moment?
  7. Dan B May 8, 2013 at 9:44 am
    This game is ghe best example of why I hate win/loss stats for pitchers. Congrats on thw win, Mr. Parnell, you deserved it.
  8. Dave May 8, 2013 at 10:02 am
    More troubling to me about Duda watching the called third strike slide by his knees was the previous pitch. He worked himself into a hitter’s count then swung at a pitch out of the strike zone and was so rattled he let a fastball thigh high, middle in zoom by. THAT was the pitch he should have pounced on. I’m not sure he will ever have that kind of strike zone recognition.
    • Jon C May 8, 2013 at 11:18 am
      I think Duda has the strike zone recognition, thats why he is able to get himself into a good hitter’s count. His problem is his approach at the plate, he is constantly taking easy fastballs because in his mind he does not even appear to be planning to swing, it looks like he is trying to walk. Keith calls him out on this all the time. Duda looks like he is doing a good job recognizing the pitches but he needs to have a more aggressive attitude once he gets himself into those hitter’s counts. I think this should be a reasonable mental step for him to make and improve his hitting.
    • gary s May 8, 2013 at 11:39 am
      Duda and the rest of the wretches that patrol the outfield at Citifield will be faint memories when this team actually becomes a contender one day..He is slow, has bad baseball instincts and is a Quadruple A player.In other words, he has all the attributes Alderson looks for in ballplayers.
  9. DaveSchneck May 8, 2013 at 11:09 am
    The Mets may actually have something with this kid Harvey. Though he did not get the W, the Mets got the W, and that is what matters. It would have been a disaster had they lost a game that Bill James ranked as the 2nd best game ever pitched in franchise history. I don’t like seeing Baxter with much playing time, but he ie certainly a professional PH and an asset to the team in that role.
  10. wohjr May 8, 2013 at 3:44 pm
    I disagreed with having harvey bunt with 2 out one on in the 2nd. The kid can also rake and tejada just does not inspire. Harvey dinged one of the great wall of flushing last home start, why not let him rip there. Has Tejada even gotten one to the warning track in the air this season?

    Otherwise amazing game… a real pleasure to watch

  11. wohjr May 8, 2013 at 3:44 pm
    Make that 2 on, one out in the 2nd.