Results tagged ‘ Stephen Strasburg ’

Harvey on Mets passing him over for Opening Day: “It’s something that I expected.”

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — As far back as September, Matt Harvey had penciled Opening Day onto his calendar, going as far as to proclaim that he was chalking the Nationals up “as a ‘W’” on April 6.

IMG_2812The realities of rehabilitation and the politics of Mets camp have slowed him only slightly. A more subdued Harvey tipped his cap on Tuesday to Bartolo Colon, who will receive the Opening Day start in his stead, and to Jacob deGrom, who will start the home opener. Harvey will pitch the third game of the season on April 9, as well as the Mets’ second home game on April 14.

“It’s something that I expected,” Harvey said. “I was happy to be healthy going into Spring Training, so … I’m happy that I get to start in Washington. I’m excited to throw there. We’re excited to match up with them.”

As for the ‘W’ he had penciled in on Opening Day?

“Bartolo’s got that covered,” Harvey said.

The Mets’ justification in avoiding Harvey for both openers was that they wanted to honor pitchers who actually contributed last year. While Harvey missed the entire season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, Colon led the staff in innings and wins, and deGrom won the National League Rookie of the Year Award. Theoretically, lining Harvey up for the second home game instead of the home opener also allows the Mets to draw two big crowds in a row to Citi Field.

“Obviously with Bartolo throwing 200 innings, getting 15 wins is well-deserved of Opening Day,” Harvey said. “And all that Jacob did last year, he obviously deserves Opening Day at home. I’m happy to be throwing in the first series and obviously extremely happy about throwing at home.”

Not that Harvey’s debut will lack juice. The Mets’ third game will pit him opposite Stephen Strasburg, one of the few pitchers in baseball who truly understands the hype surrounding Harvey. Back in April 2013, Harvey outdueled Strasburg in a game at Citi Field, prompting thousands of fans to chant “Harvey’s better!” during one of the more memorable games of his breakout season.

This time, the atmosphere should be just as electrically charged.

“That’s an important series for us, obviously opening up the season,” Harvey said. “Regardless of who we’re facing, there’s a lot of work that still needs to be done in Spring Training, and that’s a big series so we’re all excited.”

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Dispatches from Port St. Lucie, 3/19

Shhh…all’s quiet in Port St. Lucie as the Mets enjoyed their first and only off day of the spring. Me? I went to the food truck festival in Tradition.

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What we learned: The Nationals have set their season-opening rotation, with Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann slated to face the Mets at Citi Field.

What we wrote:

Around the league:

They said it:

“It was the most frightening thing I’ve ever been a part of.” –Reds right fielder Jay Bruce on Chapman’s injury

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Dispatches from Port St. Lucie, 3/4

Not to be outdone by Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler gave the Mets three brilliantly efficient innings Tuesday. But the story was Curtis Granderson, who hit two home runs in the win over Houston.

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What we learned: The Major League Baseball Players’ Association is “keeping an eye on” the Mets’ financial spending, according to union chief Tony Clark.

What we wrote:

Around the league:

“Mom and dad are here today. They might not approve.” –Granderson on why he has not joined the crew of Mets modeling their hair after Wright

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Most strikeouts through first 13 starts to a career

This is an interesting list, dating back to 1921. Check it out:

1. Hideo Nomo, 1995 Dodgers: 119 strikeouts, 1.99 ERA
2. Kerry Wood, 1998 Cubs: 118 strikeouts, 3.40 ERA
3. Herb Score, 1955 Indians: 107 strikeouts, 2.94 ERA
4. Jose DeLeon, 1983 Pirates: 106 strikeouts, 2.53 ERA
5. Gary Nolan, 1967 Reds: 97 strikeouts, 2.79 ERA
T-6. Stephen Strasburg, 2010-11 Nationals: 96 strikeouts, 2.71 ERA
T-6. Mark Prior, 2002 Cubs: 96 strikeouts, 3.65 ERA
T-6. Dwight Gooden, 1984 Mets: 96 strikeouts, 2.61 ERA
9. Matt Harvey, 2012-13 Mets: 95 strikeouts, 2.21 ERA

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Meet Zack Wheeler, and other scenes from live BP

After facing Zack Wheeler during live batting practice today, Justin Turner and John Buck both made Stephen Strasburg comparisons due to the late life on Wheeler’s fastball. That’s high praise for a pitcher who was cut from a dozen or so travel teams in his youth, rebounding to become one of the top prospects in all of baseball.

Here’s Wheeler during his live BP session today:

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And here’s the group of teammates that gathered to watch:

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A reminder that you can check out other scenes from spring training on Instagram.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Examining R.A. Dickey’s Cy Young candidacy

R.A. Dickey continued padding his statistics Monday against the Rockies, falling short of victory but shuffling ever closer to a potential National League Cy Young award.

Assuming the Mets do not alter their rotation in any radical way (a slim possibility) between now and the end of the season, Dickey should have eight starts remaining to prove he is Cy-worthy at age 37. As it currently shakes out, he will face the Marlins (29th-ranked offense) three times, and the Astros (28th), Phillies (23rd), Nationals (13th), Braves (9th) and Cardinals (4th) all once. So despite Dickey needing to win five times in eight games to reach 20 victories, the schedule is set up nicely for him.

That said, there are plenty of other fine candidates pursuing a Cy Young. With eight starts remaining, here’s a look at how Dickey stacks up against the other leaders:

*Note: Wins Above Replacement is omitted from the comparison due to the significant differences between accepted systems. But Dickey ranks third in Baseball Prosectus’s calculations and fifth in those of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs. Clayton Kershaw is the only other NL pitcher to rank in the top five in all three systems.

R.A. Dickey, Mets
ERA: 2.82 (4th)
Record: 15-4 (T-3rd)
Strikeouts: 181 (1st)
Innings: 175.1 (3rd)
WHIP: 1.03 (4th)
K/BB: 4.53 (5th)
FIP: 3.10 (7th)
xFIP: 3.11 (4th)

Dickey also leads the National League with four complete games, and is tied for the lead with two shutouts.

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
ERA: 2.87 (7th)
Record: 11-7 (T-16th)
Strikeouts: 175 (2nd)
Innings: 178.2 (1st)
WHIP: 1.00 (2nd)
K/BB: 4.17 (7th)
FIP: 2.84 (4th)
xFIP: 3.21 (6th)

The reigning NL Cy Young winner, Kershaw is 4-1 with a 1.88 ERA, 39 strikeouts and four walks over his last five starts.

Johnny Cueto, Reds
ERA: 2.44 (1st)
Record: 16-6 (T-1st)
Strikeouts: 135 (18th)
Innings: 169.2 (6th)
WHIP: 1.13 (8th)
K/BB: 3.65 (13th)
FIP: 3.04 (5th)
xFIP: 3.63 (T-15th)

Cueto would have ranked second in the NL in ERA last year had he amassed enough innings to qualify.

Madison Bumgarner, Giants
ERA: 2.83 (5th)
Record: 14-7 (T-5th)
Strikeouts: 160 (6th)
Innings: 171.2 (4th)
WHIP: 0.99 (1st)
K/BB: 5.00 (3rd)
FIP: 3.26 (11th)
xFIP: 3.23 (7th)

Bumgarner, who recently celebrated his 23rd birthday, has been one of baseball’s best pitchers since the All-Star break.

Aroldis Chapman, Reds
ERA: 1.35 (N/A)
Saves: 29 (3rd)
Strikeouts: 110 (T-35th)
Innings: 60.0 (T-93rd)
WHIP: 0.72 (N/A)
K/BB: 7.33 (N/A)
FIP: 1.03 (N/A)
xFIP: 1.39 (N/A)

Chapman, a reliever, will not pitch even half the innings necessary to qualify for the ERA title and other rate stat leaderboards.

***

Those are probably the top five in some order, and you can make a legitimate case for every one of them. Cueto leads the league in ERA. Bumgarner has been more or less unhittable since July. Kershaw is trending in the right direction and could easily finish with the league’s best overall resume. Chapman is the most-feared and most-successful reliever in baseball. Dickey may have the most well-rounded stat line of any of them.

At this point, you could certainly make an argument to rank Dickey as high as first. I’d listen. But with fractions of points separating almost everyone on this list, there is a lot that can still happen over the next five weeks, including late runs from the second-tier group of Cole Hamels of the Phillies, Matt Cain of the Giants and Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg (if he does not get shut down) of the Nationals.

All that’s clear is that with eight starts remaining, Dickey is on the short list of legitimate Cy Young contenders in one of the most crowded fields of contenders in years.

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

Ike Davis faced Strasburg…and all he got was this stupid t-shirt

The Met with most perspective on Saturday’s opposing starter, Stephen Strasburg, is one with nearly no big league experience at all. Ike Davis, another rising star in the youthful NL East, dug in against Strasburg last year in the Arizona Fall League. By his recollection, he went 0-for-2.

“He’s got good stuff,” Davis said. “He throws really hard.  He’s got three or four pitches, throws them for strikes, really comes after you. You just really need to pick one out and try to hit it.”

In the hours leading up to Saturday’s game, the Mets may lean on Davis for some insider info regarding Strasburg. Davis is the only Met to have seen him in person.

He and his teammates will also watch video, of course. But from what they’ve heard and seen, it may not matter much.

“Everyone has seen something they could look for,” Davis said. “But I don’t know what you would want to hit.”

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

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