clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Dark Knight Rises, 10 Years Later: Start #11

May 28, 2013: Matt Harvey’s Subway Series debut is a memorable one

New York Yankees v New York Mets

Here at Amazin’ Avenue, we’re marking the 10-year anniversary of Matt Harvey’s transcendent 2013 season by spending the year looking back at each of Harvey’s amazing 26 starts that season, one by one, on the anniversary day of each start. We’ll re-live one of the best pitching seasons in Mets history, start-by-start, from its zenith to its tragic end.

We continue today with his 11th start at home against the Yankees. You can read about his last start here.


Growing up in Connecticut, Harvey’s favorite team during his youth was the New York Yankees. Like many kids who grew up in the northeast during the late 90s and early 2000s, he was lured in by the Derek Jeter-led dynasty teams in the Bronx who were the class of baseball for a good part of Harvey’s formative years.

Despite the “young athlete who grew up in the northeast rooting for the Yankees” not being a particularly rare thing in baseball, the New York media had a field day with this with Harvey. The media would always try to play up Harvey’s childhood affection for the Yankees, and, to be fair, Harvey doing things like showing up to Jeter’s final home game as a fan didn’t help. Of course, he never really openly stated his affection for the Yankees, but that never mattered.

Call it jealousy, call it Wilpon-induced anxiety, call it little brother syndrome, call it whatever, but the fear of Matt Harvey eventually ditching the Madoff-stricken Mets and bolting for a massive contract in the Bronx the first chance he got was a real fear among Mets fans for years. It never came to pass, of course, but it wasn’t the last time in the Wilpon era that the New York media would try to stir the pot by wondering if the Mets young stars would join the Yankees.

But on May 28, 2013, Harvey faced his childhood team for the first time in his career. The Subway Series obviously always generates buzz, and the overarching storyline of the Subway Series in the early 2010s was mostly about the Mets failing to match up to a star-studded Yankees team. But 2013 was a little different. Due to new interleague scheduling rules, this was the first time that the Subway Series took place in a four-game weeknight series between the two parks, leading to worse attendance numbers than usual and less hype.

What also hurt the allure of this Subway Series was the lack of star power. Injuries to Jeter, A-Rod, Curtis Granderson, and Mark Teixeira left the Yankees lineup fairly unrecognizable and listless. They were still winning games—the Bombers sat at 30-20 coming into this game—but they were clearly missing the fire power on offense. Conversely, the biggest star of the Subway Series this time around would be nobody in Yankee pinstripes. It was Matt Harvey, who toed the rubber for the second game of the series at Citi Field.

Once again, Doc Gooden made his way out to Citi Field to take in another Harvey Day in person. This time, SNY had Kevin Burhardt sitting at his side for most of the game, and wound up functionally making Doc a fourth member of the booth, asking him questions about how Harvey should approach each batter, what pitches to throw in what counts, and his thoughts as the game progressed. Gooden had pretty much made his twitter presence entirely about Harvey to this point, creating the “Real Deal” nickname and tweeting out K counters for every Harvey start. Gooden was the biggest Harvey fan out there, and probably saw a lot of himself in the young Mets ace.

Pitching on the biggest stage of his career to that point, “The Real Deal” was dealing from the start. He got through the first inning in order on just nine pitches, and followed it up by striking out two in a spotless second. He dealt with some traffic in the third, as singles by Reid Brignac and Brett Gardner put Harvey in some trouble, but he struck out three in the frame, including Robinson Canò, to end the inning and keep the game scoreless.

As had become customary, the Mets were not doing much offensively to support Harvey. Hiroki Kuroda was handling them on the other side with aplomb.

The two starters matched zeroes through the fourth and fifth. Going into the sixth, Harvey had struck out seven Yankees while allowing just those two singles in the third on 72 pitches. Kuroda had allowed just three singles of his own and had struck out five Mets on 69 pitches. This had become a tight pitcher’s duel.

In the top of the sixth, Gardner singled into right to start the inning, but Marlon Byrd booted the ball in the outfield, allowing Gardner to get to second. It was the second error of the night for the Mets, who just refused to give their ace any help out there.

A groundout moved Gardner to third, and Harvey got Vernon Wells to pop out for the second out. Only needing to get through Lyle Overbay to keep the game tied, Harvey tried to sneak a 1-0 changeup past him and it didn’t work. Overbay laced it right past the originator and back up the middle, scoring the run from third and giving the Yankees a 1-0 lead.

Harvey had cracked first. Was that going to be the deciding blow?

He got David Adams* to strike out swinging to end the inning, and then slammed his glove down in the dugout. Harvey was likely just frustrated with himself, but it’s hard not to feel like his patience for the inept team around him was maybe wearing a little thin.

*For the record, I don’t know who David Adams is either. He started for the Yankees in this game at third base and apparently got 152 PAs on the 2013 Yankees, hitting for a 46 wRC+. This Yankees team finished with a winning record.

To make matters worse, the Mets actually got a runner into scoring position in the bottom half of the inning when Ruben Tejada reached on an error and advanced to second on a passed ball. But Tejada was picked off second to end the inning. This team was dire.

Both starters delivered scoreless seventh innings, keeping it at 1-0 going into the eighth. Kuroda was pinch hit for in the 8th, ending his night at seven innings and 110 pitches. He struck out seven Mets and allowed just four singles; a truly great performance by Kuroda in his own right.

But Harvey forged on in the eighth. At just 92 pitches with plenty left in the tank, he could bid for the rare “complete game loss” with an easy eighth inning. Unfortunately, it wasn’t very easy.

Harvey got the first two outs of the inning fairly quickly, but back-to-back hits by Canò and Wells put runners on the corners with two outs for Overbay.

With his pitch count now at 110 on a humid night, Harvey’s fastballs were more 93-94 MPH at this point. He was clearly running out of gas again. With Terry Collins having been ejected earlier in the game, Dan Warthen came out to take the temperature of his young ace, and Harvey did not want to leave. After a quick chat, Warthen let Harvey stay in to face Overbay.

On 1-2, the Yankees’ replacement first baseman laced a ball into pretty deep right field that Byrd ran down on the edge of the warning track to end the inning. Harvey escaped the jam, and that was the end of his night.

Really for the first time since his start against the White Sox, Harvey completely dominated. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. He took the spotlight on the big stage against his childhood team and ran with it. He finished the night with 11 strikeouts while surrendering no walks and six hits across eight stellar innings. He only allowed just the one run.

But it looked like that was going to be enough to beat him on this night. The Mets continued to just get nothing going offensively. David Robertson shut the Mets down in a 1-2-3 eighth inning. Harvey was once again at risk for his first loss of the season.

Scott Rice delivered a 1-2-3 ninth for the Mets, sending it to the bottom of the ninth. The Mets had the heart of the order due up against Mariano Rivera, who was the other star of the show on this evening.

This was Rivera’s final season, and he was going through his retirement tour, getting honored in each road stadium he went to. The Mets let him throw out the first pitch of this game to John Franco. They posed for pictures and did the whole nine. Later in the year, Rivera would get his All-Star Game sendoff at Citi Field as well.

Of course, it’s not like Rivera was really on his last legs as a pitcher, either. He owned a 1.40 ERA coming into this game and had allowed just two earned runs on the year to this point. He was as tough as ever, and was facing a Mets lineup that was one of the worst in baseball on a night where they had only mustered four hits.

Daniel Murphy led off. On 1-1, he got jammed and lofted a ball down the left field line that happened to fall into fair territory and bounce into the seats for a ground-rule double. It was lucky, but the Mets could’ve used some luck on this night.

David Wright was next up with the tying run at second. On 2-0, he fought off a cutter on the hands and lofted it towards the middle of the diamond. Birgnac, the replacement shortstop, didn’t have the range to flag it down and it rolled into center field. Murphy scored from second, and then the ball got away from the catcher, Chris Stewart, on the throw to the plate, allowing Wright to advance to second, now carrying the winning run.

Just like that, Rivera had blown the save, his first blown save of the season. The game was tied at one and the Mets were finally on the board.

The next batter, Lucas Duda, had a chance to win it with still nobody out in the inning. He took a 1-1- cutter and punched it in to right field, where it fell in front of Ichiro. Wright rounded third, Ichiro uncorked a throw, but he didn’t have the arm he used to have. Wright slid in safely with the winning run and a Mets win.

The night began with Rivera throwing the first pitch, and then it ended with him walking off the field as a loser. It was the last time he’d ever pitch against the Mets. You can still catch this game on SNY as a Mets Classic a few times per offseason and during rainouts.

Someone who wasn’t a loser on this night was Matt Harvey, who once again narrowly avoided a loss he didn’t deserve. His record stood at 5-0 through 11 starts, and he rocked an ERA of 1.85, which was now the second-best qualified ERA in baseball among starters. His 2.8 fWAR through 11 starts was also second-highest among all starters in baseball to only Adam Wainwright.

Here’s Chris McShane’s in-depth recap of this start.

Baseball reference box score