Harvey Versus Strasburg: Previewing the Great Pitcher's Duel

Vinny MessanaCorrespondent IApril 18, 2013

24-year-old Matt Harvey has been among the most impressive pitchers this season.
24-year-old Matt Harvey has been among the most impressive pitchers this season.Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images

There has been a changing of the guards in the NL East in the past year. Not only have the Washington Nationals become the class of the division, but Stephen Strasburg has become the most dominating pitcher, surpassing Roy Halladay.

He could have company from a fellow 24-year-old, however, and his name is Matt Harvey.

Clearly, Strasburg came up with more hype and aside from the Tommy John surgery which wiped away most of his 2011 season, he has lived up to the hype.

Matt Harvey, on the other hand, was a first-round pick in 2010 but wasn't even the most buzz worthy Mets prospect; that honor went to Zack Wheeler.

After three incredible starts in which he has had people compare him to the great Tom Seaver, he has become one of the most ballyhooed young pitchers in the game. Heck, even other pitchers are rooting for him.

Through his first three starts—all wins—and 22 innings, he has amassed mind-boggling numbers; two earned runs, one home run, 25 strikeouts, six hits and six walks, which equates to a 0.545 WHIP, 2.5 H/9, 10.2 K/9 and a 4.17 K.BB. Nobody expects him to maintain those numbers, but he has shown the poise, confidence and arsenal of pitches that suggests he will not regress to a league-average pitcher.

The only statistics that really suggest he has been the beneficiary of luck is his ridiculous BAA of .088 and that he has held batters hitless (0-for-7) after the count is 2-0. That is simply unsustainable.

In his only start against the Nationals last season, he tossed five innings while allowing one ER, while fanning 10 against three walks. He struck out Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth twice.

His counterpart has compiled numbers that are also impressive but pale in comparison. Strasburg has a 1-2 record with a 2.95 ERA in 18.1 innings, allowing 17 hits, six ER, five walks and 15 strikeouts with a 1.20 WHIP.

His record is skewed because of his poor start in the Great American Ballpark in which he yielded six runs in 5.1 innings. Against the Mets lineup in Citi Field, that is unlikely to occur.

His career mark against the NYM is 2-0 in three starts. In 18 innings he has only allowed three runs while fanning 25. Of the current Mets, only Ike Davis has a respectable average, as he has amassed three hits in eight at bats. At the current time, however, Davis is struggling to hit anybody, nonetheless an elite pitcher like Strasburg.

The weather could play a part, as there is a 90 percent chance of rain with 19 mph gusts of wind. If it holds off, however, the temperature looks to be in the mid 50s at game time. Harvey has already proved to be unaffected by cold and wind, but it will be interesting to see how he deals with rain.

Weather permitting, this should be a terrific match up and definitely one that will be monitored by baseball fans. Two young studs squaring off in an NL East match up. I'll be in attendance and making sure I don't miss anything because Harvey has taught us he has the ability to flirt with a no-no in any given start.

I predict the Mets will win this one 2-1 with Harvey tossing eight innings, fanning nine and allowing four hits with Bobby Parnell closing the deal.