Mets fans in DC watch the Ace pick up where he left off
The electricity of the Dark Knight’s fastball was matched only by the intensity of the crowd, donning blue and orange and hoping for a win against Stephen Strasburg. Attendance was recorded at 26,675. It ended with the Mets winning 7 to 1. Matt Harvey pitched seven innings, giving up one run and finishing the night with an ERA of 0.93. The date was April 19, 2013. Harvey was better.
The first Harvey Day of the 2015 season, a rematch between the two pitchers, didn’t have quite the same electric atmosphere, but was a positive finish for the Mets’ first series of the year.
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An in-control—though not untouchable—Harvey pitched six innings. He struck out nine, Bryce Harper three times. This was especially appreciated by the thousands of Mets fans in attendance, after the opposing outfielder—whose maturity is often in question—reminded the orange and blue faithful just how talented he is out there, in case they had forgotten over the six-month hiatus.
The skies were overcast, the temperature chilly, but everybody ready to see Harvey and Strasburg face each other for the first time since that also-overcast game almost two years ago.
I sat along the third base line, with hundreds of other Mets fans, where there was much more blue and orange sweatshirts and jerseys than red and white ones. New Yorkers visiting the DC area during the holiday week, seeing the tourist attractions of the capital and welcoming back their ace for the first time since his 2013 season was cut short.
The PA announcer introduced the Mets’ lineup, with Harvey getting a healthy round of applause. When the young pitcher walked with his catcher and pitching coach from the bullpen, across the field, to the visitors’ dugout, Mets fans again stood up and clapped in anticipation.
It’s a special thing when having slight command issues early on—meaning one walk, and some at-bats where hitters were able to foul off a couple of pitches in a row—combined with the giving up of four hits, counts as an “okay-but-far-from-his-greatest-stuff” kind of a start. But Harvey still dominated the other team. It seems as if he’s picking up right where he left off in 2013.
It was also a chance to see some offense that was absent in the first two games, facing the best pitching staff in the sport. The Amazins were also able to string some hits together—10 in all, which is a good sign for a team with a good pitching staff looking for a spot in the playoffs, even if it’s just the second wild card.
The Mets fans at the ballpark stood up and clapped for Harvey as he walked to the dugout after finishing the sixth inning, which he did by striking out his third batter of a perfect frame. They knew his pitch count was high, his job was done, and the future of the Mets organization here, as there was no trace of his elbow surgery.
As the Mets went on to win 6 to 3, chants of “Let’s Go Mets,” “He’s Our Captain,” and, of course, “Harvey’s Better” echoed through the third base side of the not-quite-crowded ballpark.
With Harvey’s first victory of 2015, the Mets secured the series win over Washington—the team that many have picked to make it to the World Series. A great start to a new baseball season. And a great beginning for what will hopefully be the young ace’s first full season.
The midday, weekday, dreary-day conditions may have kept the crowds away. We’ll just have to wait for another Harvey-Strasburg matchup at Citi Field later this year to recreate the atmosphere of April 19, 2013. It’s sure to be electric.