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The Dark Knight Rises, 10 Years Later: Start #20

July 21, 2013: Coming off the All-Star game start, Harvey dominates Philly

2013 MLB All-Star Game Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

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 20th start at home against the Phillies. You can read about his last start here.


The 2013 All-Star game was just the second ever in a Mets home stadium. The first one, in 1964, was when the franchise was still in its infancy for the first year at Shea Stadium. The Mets were still a truly awful team, and only had one All-Star, Ron Hunt, who was in the game more as a charity than anything else.

So 2013 was the first time actual Mets star players had a chance to really shine and represent the team in the All-Star game in the team’s own stadium. David Wright and Matt Harvey, the only two players from the Mets to make the NL All-Star Team, were both in the starting lineup, and they were the main attraction for the Citi Field fans.

Tom Seaver was brought out to throw the first pitch to Wright. It really was a poetic moment, as Seaver, representing the history of the Mets, threw the pitch to Wright, who was the captain present face of the franchise, from the mound that would be momentarily graced by Harvey, the future of the franchise.

It was also, sadly, one of the last public appearances Seaver would ever make.

Wright started and played until the 7th inning, which is rare for an All-Star game, and he recorded a base hit in three at bats. Harvey took the mound and started the game for the NL team, sporting bright orange shoes, at the center of attention of the baseball world, right where he belonged.

He allowed a leadoff double to Mike Trout and then hit Robinson Cano with a pitch, but very impressively struck out Miguel Cabrera, got Chris Davis to ground out, and then struck out Jose Bautista to end the inning.

In the second, Harvey retired David Ortiz, Adam Jones, and Joe Mauer in order, including striking out Jones, to end his night. It was a very impressive showing from the young ace on the largest stage he had ever pitched on. He went head-to-head with the game’s best and not only held his own, but bested some future Hall-of-Famers.

A few days earlier, on July 12, the 2013 ESPN: The Body Issue that featured Harvey hit the stands. The highlights of the photoshoot were mostly pictures of Harvey’s completely naked body posing in his windup, but there were some other cheeky shots (no pun intended) of Harvey pretending to sneak food out of someone’s room and getting caught.

The photoshoot was good for some laughs and some ogling, but it did earn Harvey a bit of criticism. Somehow, unlike all of the other athletes to appear in this magazine which have included Prince Fielder, Giancarlo Stanton, Bryce Harper, and Jose Reyes, Harvey was criticized by some for being lewd and inappropriate, while others were concerned he was becoming too focused on the spotlight.

That latter perception wasn’t helped by yet another feature about him that got published on July 15 in Men’s Journal. Harvey was everywhere.

This profile was similar to the Dark Knight of Gotham one in Sports Illustrated from May, but somehow even less humble. This one also told the story of Harvey turning down the Angels in the draft and described his bulldog attitude towards pitching, but it also painted Harvey much more as a debonair high-roller in the big city who drove nice cars, dated Russian models, hung out with some of the rich elites of the town, and cared deeply about fashion.

Harvey compared himself to Derek Jeter in the piece and expressed how much he wanted to be like the Yankees captain. “That guy is the model,” Harvey was quoted as saying in the article. “I mean, first off, let’s just look at the women he’s dated. Obviously, he goes out—he’s meeting these girls somewhere—but you never hear about it. That’s where I want to be.”

The feature also narrated Harvey’s game day routine, and described the night he stayed out at a bar until 2 a.m. after his dominant start against the Yankees back in May, hanging out with some high-level marketing people and Rangers forward Brian Boyle, trying new forms of tobacco. Harvey also discussed his desires to earn a $200 million contract and buy the nicest apartment in Manhattan one day.

It was all grandiose, way past the point of being obnoxious, but this is what Harvey wanted. This is how he wanted to be perceived. Harvey was embracing everything about being a true star in New York and was ready to grab the spotlight. Some thought he was becoming too distracted, though, and that this was a bad look for a young starry-eyed pitcher who hadn’t realistically accomplished a whole lot yet to be putting out there.

But he didn’t look distracted on the mound. After going to the All-Star game and being the center of attention, appearing on Jimmy Fallon, and having all of these profiles written about him and photoshoots of his naked body done, Harvey came back for his first start out of the break on July 21, fully clothed, and delivered a great start against the Phillies at home.

He came out firing bullets, and worked around a hit-by-pitch to deliver a scoreless first inning. He wouldn’t allow another baserunner until Chase Utley singled off him in the fourth. Harvey struck out the side in the third inning, and again in the fifth. He allowed another single in the sixth, and a double in the seventh, but surrendered nothing else.

Harvey completed seven dominant, scoreless innings. He surrendered just those three hits with no walks, and 10 punch outs. The Mets offense actually showed up in this one, and put up five runs for Harvey, which was more than enough. Scott Atchison provided two innings of scoreless relief, and the Mets won 5-0, handing Harvey his eighth win of the season to improve to 8-2. He lowered his ERA to 2.23 in the process. His second half started as dominantly as his first half did.

Baseball reference box score

Chris McShane’s recap of this start