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Tracking Matt Harvey's Season: Start #24, PITCHf/x data and GIFs

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Harvey's otherwise excellent season hit a bit of a road bump in Los Angeles.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Harvey's start in Los Angeles a few days ago was one of his poorer outings of the season. He struck out the first two batters he faced but only finished with three strikeouts on the day and allowed four runs in six innings of work.

PITCHf/x DATA (via Brooks Baseball)

Pitch Type Avg Speed Max Speed Count Strikes / % Whiffs / %
FA (Fastball) 97.46 99.86 58 38 / 65.52% 5 / 8.62%
CH (Changeup) 88.97 90.37 8 7 / 87.50% 0 / 0.00%
SL (Slider) 91.55 92.94 21 9 / 42.86% 1 / 4.76%
CU (Curveball) 85.17 87.74 8 7 / 87.50% 0 / 0.00%

Harvey's pitch breakdown is pretty typical: lots of fastballs, plenty of sliders, and a handful of changeups and curveballs. Unfortunately, he generated just 6 swinging strikes on 95 pitches, a 6.3 percent rate that's far below his rate for the season. Even the best pitchers occasionally don't have it.

The swinging strikes—represented by yellow squares—are harder to find than usual, but Harvey kept the ball down more often than not, especially when he missed the strike zone.

GIFs

Strikeout 1: Carl Crawford, swinging

Strikeout 2: Mark Ellis, looking

Strikeout 3: Hyun-Jin Ryu, swinging

WHERE HARVEY RANKS IN THE NATIONAL LEAGUE

It's going to be tough for Harvey to catch up to Clayton Kershaw in ERA thanks to a recent string of dominant pitching by the lefty. With a 1.80 ERA, Kershaw has a fairly significant lead in the stat considering how late it is in the season. Fangraphs WAR still says Harvey's better—his 5.7 bests Kershaw's 5.3—thanks to a superior FIP. But it's hard to see Harvey taking the Cy Young without the best ERA in the National League.

ERA FIP K% BB% SwStr%
Harvey 2.23 2.02 28.6 4.9 12.7
NL Rank 2nd 1st 1st 7th 1st
NL Avg. SP 3.87 3.81 18.9 7.4 8.7

HARVEY IN METS HISTORICAL CONTEXT

As is the case with Kershaw in 2013, Harvey has a shot at catching Tom Seaver's 1973 ERA, though it won't be easy. Still, it's awfully impressive that Harvey's first full season is right up there among the best in Mets history.

Pitcher (Year) IP ERA K BB GSc
Matt Harvey (2013) 165.2 2.23 181 31 66
R.A. Dickey (2012) 168.1 2.89 175 38 62
Dwight Gooden (1985) 188.2 1.57 179 50 70
Tom Seaver (1973) 194.2 1.90 168 42 69