On a rather chilly 46-degree Saturday evening at Citi Field, Matt Harvey was every bit the Real Deal in leading the N.L. East champs to an NLCS opening game victory over the Chicago Cubs.Oct 17, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) reacts after retiring the Chicago Cubs in the 7th inning in game one of the NLCS at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
As if picking up where he left off on May 13th, when he allowed Chicago a mere three hits over seven innings and fanned nine at Wrigley, Matt Harvey commenced a commanding performance by striking out the first two batters he faced, both swinging.
The Dark Knight stayed perfect through four innings, striking out six along the way.
In the top of the fifth, the batter’s box became a dangerous place for Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, whom was hit by a two-strike fastball, and became Chicago’s first base runner of the game.
Matt Harvey, however, did not remain unscathed. Starlin Castro promptly hit a double deep over the head of center fielder Juan Lagares (whom was arguably playing too shallow), scoring Rizzo. With one out, shortstop Javier Baez then singled, but only Yoenis Cespedes‘ strong and accurate throw from left field nailing Castro at the plate prevented further damage.
In the sixth inning, the Cubs hit Harvey again, literally. Leading off, center fielder Dexter Fowler lined a pea off Harvey’s pitching shoulder. The Dark Knight shook it off, and continued pitching scoreless baseball through the seventh inning.
By this time, it was obvious Terry Collins harbored no interest in handing the game off to his middle relievers. And so, Matt Harvey returned to the hill in the eighth inning. He retired the first two batters on fly balls, then surrendered a long home run to left/center off the bat of left fielder Kyle Schwarber, making it a 4-2 Cubs deficit.
That ended the Dark Knight’s successful defense of Gotham.
Matt Harvey faced 29 batters over 7.2 innings pitched. He utilized his entire repertoire with control, throwing 97 pitches with 64 (66%) going for strikes, while averaging an economical 13.2 pitches per frame. He limited the Cubs to a pair of earned runs on four hits and two walks, and fanned nine batters in earning his second win of the postseason.
Closer Jeurys Familia took care of the rest with a four-out save, but not before a brilliant diving play by Daniel Murphy ended the game.
Make no mistake, the Cubs had their scoring chances, and for a brief moment the Mets lost their composure. But, fans of Gotham can rest easy tonight. The Dark Knight successfully repelled the Chicago Cubs.
Post Game Note:
- Matt Harvey said he was hit on the right triceps, and that it was indeed somewhat swollen. He also admitted the chilly night gave him cause for concern prior the the game’s start.
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