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 12th start on the road against the Marlins. You can read about his last start here.
Matt Harvey finished the month of May with a 2.15 ERA across five starts. He walked five batters all month, three of them in one start, and struck out 38 in 37.2 innings. Of course, Harvey only had one decision for the month—the win against the Cubs—and the other four starts were no decisions. It was a strong month to follow-up his otherworldly April.
Harvey’s first test in the month of June was the team he had maybe his most difficult start against, the Miami Marlins. Harvey gave up more runs to the Reds than he did the Marlins when he faced them on April 29, but the Marlins, true to character, put together a bunch of annoying at bats and forced him to throw over 110 pitches in just 5.2 innings.
Harvey had his chance to get back at them in this one, once again in Miami. The Marlins were now firmly entrenched as one of the worst teams in baseball, even worse than the Mets. They came into this game at just 16-41. That’s a 45-win pace in 162 games. They were the worst offensive team in baseball. It made no sense that Harvey struggled against them in his first start, so surely he’d shut them down this time, right?
Well, maybe not. Things got off to a rough start immediately for Harvey. Juan Pierre led off the game with a bunt single that Harvey couldn’t field. The next hitter, Ed Lucas, grounded a single into right field, and Harvey was immediately in trouble just five pitches into the game.
A strikeout of Derek Dietrich got Harvey his first out, but Marcell Ozuna laced a first-pitch slider over the head of Rick Ankiel, who got a bad break on it, in center field. Both runners scored and Ozuna wound up on third with a triple. Stunningly, Harvey had already given up two runs to the lowly Fish and had only recorded one out.
It didn’t end there, either. Chris Coghlan followed with a pop fly that Omar Quinatnilla at shortstop couldn’t get to because he was playing in on the dirt with a runner on third, and it fell into the outfield grass. Ozuna scored from third, and the Marlins had three runs off Harvey, even if it could’ve easily been zero with better defense.
The Mets got a run back in the top of the second on a Lucas Duda homer, but Harvey found more trouble in the bottom half of the second. A leadoff single by Rob Brantly followed by a sacrifice by the pitcher Kevin Slowey put another runner in scoring position very quickly. Harvey then walked Pierre, and allowed a seeing-eye ground ball up the middle, past a diving Daniel Murphy, to score the run from second.
Harvey had now matched his season high by allowing four runs, and he had only recorded four outs. A matchup that looked sure to be a dominant one for Harvey was now looking like his first real clunker of the season thanks to some awful batted ball luck. Now the question was: how bad was this going to get?
Harvey got through the inning by striking out Dietrich again and getting Ozuna to fly out. The Mets once again got a run back on a solo homer, this time by Omar Quintanilla, but still trailed 4-2.
Harvey had a much easier third inning. He allowed another leadoff single, but this time got a double play to get him through the frame. One thing noticeable about all of these singles, if you actually watch this game like I did, is how many of them would be 4-3s on the scorecard with modern day positioning, even considering the shift ban. A lot of these were slow base hits that were just out of the reach of Murphy going up the middle that you still almost never see anymore.
In other words, Harvey was getting BABIP’d to death. The triple by Ozuna was really the only hard-hit ball against him.
The Mets tied it in the fourth on a two-run bomb by Ike Davis. Harvey posted another zero in the fourth around two more relatively soft hits. That was now nine hits in the game for the Marlins in just four innings off the Mets ace.
The Mets scored two more in the fifth to take a 6-4 lead, and Harvey went back out for the fifth now protecting a lead for the first time on the night. He wasn’t going to go deep, as he already had thrown 80 pitches in the four innings, but it would’ve been a funny turn of fortunes if the Mets offense could actually give Harvey a win he didn’t actually deserve.
Harvey allowed another hit and a walk in the bottom of the fifth, but struck out two in the inning and got out of it without allowing another run. At 100 pitches, he was done after just the five innings.
The ten hits he allowed were a season-high, but Harvey was able to limit the damage after those first two innings. His 5.0 innings pitches were a season-low, and his two shortest outings so far had now both come against the Miami Marlins, who, again, were the worst offensive team in baseball.
Harvey gave way to the bullpen, who immediately blew the lead, and out went Harvey’s chance for a win. Scott Rice was the first culprit, serving up three runs thanks to four walks that he allowed in one inning. Brandon Lyon gave up another run in the seventh, giving the Marlins the 8-6 lead, and then a three-run shot by Greg Dobbs off Latroy Hawkins in the eighth put it away at 11-6, which was the final.
Harvey once again avoided the loss, keeping his record at 5-0, but his ERA had been raised to 2.17 on the year, which was the highest point it had been all year long. No worries though, because Harvey’s next opponent was…the Miami Marlins again.