D-backs can't solve Mets' Harvey in MLB debut

BY foxsports • July 26, 2012

PHOENIX -- The Diamondbacks understood that Mets rookie right-hander Matt Harvey had a quality repertoire, but there was a matching belief that Harvey might bring a case of butterflies into his major league debut Thursday. The stuff was all that showed up.

Harvey set a modern major league record by striking out 11 and getting two hits in his debut, using a 98 mph fastball and an assortment of secondary stuff to hold off the D-backs and give the Mets a 3-1 win at Chase Field. The D-backs, who lost their second straight, had only three hits in 5 1/3 scoreless innings off Harvey, who got 11 of his 16 outs by strikeout.

"You hear you are facing a guy in his major league debut, you are kind of licking your chops a little bit," D-backs left fielder Jason Kubel said.

"Hoping he would be a little amped in spots and leave balls over the plate, but he just didn't do that. You kind of think it would be kind of hard for him, too" facing a team for the first time, "but it didn't look like it. He's got some good stuff.

"It would be a little tough if he's got that kind of stuff and you haven't seen it before. Hats off to him."

The D-backs had their chance at Harvey much earlier -- in the 2010 draft. Harvey was the seventh overall pick, going one slot after the D-backs selected Barret Loux with the No. 6 pick, but that did not work out. The D-backs' post-draft physical exam on Loux revealed what they believed were arm issues, and they backed away after first offering a $2 million bonus, slightly under the slot valuation. Harvey and the Mets agreed to a $2.525 bonus.

If the D-backs knew then what they know now ...

Harvey struck out eight of the first 14 batters he faced, most on high-90s fastballs. But he also used a hard-breaking slider against both righties and lefties and mixed in a curveball and a changeup.

The D-backs threatened twice, putting runners on first and second in the third inning and then against in the sixth, when Harvey walked two of the three batters he faced and was removed after throwing 106 pitches.

Justin Upton's sacrifice fly in the eighth ended the Mets' shutout, and the D-backs were poised for their third come-from-behind victory of the homestand when Ryan Wheeler worked new Mets closer Bobby Parnell for a nine-pitch walk to open the ninth. Aaron Hill then walked with two outs, but Parnell stuck out Kubel looking, one of the D-backs' 16 strikeouts.

Wheeler was the only player who had faced Harvey previously, hitting against him in the Class AAA All-Star Game on July 11 while still with Reno. Wheeler's Pacific Coast League team won the game, but Harvey pitched two shutout innings, allowing one baserunner when he hit D-backs prospect Jake Elmore with a pitch.

"I don't know if he was throwing 98 (mph) then. He was probably hyped on some adrenaline today. He gave us his best," Wheeler said.

"We knew he had a hard slider. I'd seen one changeup in the All-Star Game, and it wasn't good. And today, his changeup seemed to be on. I wouldn't say it's a sneaky 98 (mph). I don't know if there is a sneaky 98. You were seeing it, but it was getting there quick."

Wade Miley entered the game with seven victories at Chase Field, tied with San Francisco's Madison Bumgarner, Pittsburgh's A.J. Burnett and Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto for the most home victories in the NL.

Miley did not have his best command, however, and paid the price when he fell behind hitters. He gave up hits to three of the first four Mets, with Scott Hairston's double to the fence in right-center driving in the first two. Miley had only one 1-2-3 inning before leaving in the top of the sixth after throwing 107 pitches.

"You have to try to minimize the damage, and for the most part I was able to do that," said Miley, who gave up another run on a sacrifice fly in the fourth. "Just didn't have good stuff tonight. Kind of battled a bit. It's tough to have success when you are behind in the counts."

While Miley (11-6) did not have his usual success at home, Harvey said he saw his coming. He also broke the Mets' franchise record -- previously held by Tom Seaver and Bill Denehy -- for strikeouts a debut. They each had eight.

"When I was warming up, I looked around and kind of took everything in. At that moment, I really did believe that I was meant to pitch in the big leagues. It was everything I could have imagined," Harvey said.

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