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The Dark Knight Rises, 10 Years Later: Start #23

August 7, 2013: Matt Harvey throws his first career complete game shutout.

Colorado Rockies v New York Mets Photo by Mike Stobe/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 23rd start at home against the Rockies. You can read about his last start here.


The complete game in baseball is essentially dead. As of this writing, there have only been 20 complete games pitched in the 2023 season. Only three pitchers—Nathan Eovaldi, Framber Valdez, and Sandy Alcantara—have more than one complete game on the year, and they all have two.

10 years ago, complete games weren’t as dead as they are now, but they were definitely endangered—at least compared to where they were 10 years before that. In 2013, most pitchers didn’t throw complete games at this point, but some of the better pitchers in baseball would still reliably rack up three or four in a season.

It was a little strange, then, that Matt Harvey had made it into August and was stuck at zero. Of course, he completed nine innings in his near-perfect game against the White Sox in May, but that game went to extras. So Harvey had still not tossed a complete game in his career.

It wasn’t for a lack of trying, either. Harvey routinely pitched into the eighth inning, and Terry Collins would constantly leave him in for 115 to even 120 pitches to squeeze every ounce he could out of his young ace, but the stars could never align enough for Harvey to go the distance.

Until one night, when it finally happened.

Harvey took the mound on August 7, 2013, against a Rockies team that was about as bad as the Mets were, at 52-63 coming into the game. Neither of these teams were going anywhere, so the only intrigue in this game was Harvey trying to finalize his Cy Young case down the stretch of the season.

Harvey took the mound on this night and, as was common, he was dominant from the word “go.” He completed a 1-2-3 first on just 11 pitches, which pretty much set the tone for the night. He’d worked around a single to deliver a scoreless second, and then a scoreless third, and a fourth.

The Mets were already leading 2-0 when Harvey delivered a perfect fifth inning on just seven pitches. He was through five shutout innings on just 55 pitches. He had scattered just two singles and had struck out only three, but no Colorado hitter had reached second base yet.

That continued through the sixth, as Harvey delivered another 1-2-3 inning with his fourth strikeout. When he followed that with another perfect seventh inning, Harvey had retired 10 in a row, and was at just 81 pitches through seven. At this point, it was clear that he had a legitimate chance to finally go the distance in this one.

Harvey went back out to the mound for the eighth, and struck out the first hitter he faced on three pitches to retire his 11th batter in a row, while recording his sixth strikeout of the night. The next hitter, Nolan Arenado, broke up the streak with an infield single to shortstop that should’ve been an out, as replay showed the ball nestling in Ike Davis’s glove before Arenado’s foot touched the first base bag. But he was ruled safe, and this was a time before replay.

Nonetheless, Harvey induced a double play ball just two pitches later to get through the inning at 91 pitches. There was nothing stopping him now. He’d almost certainly get a chance at the ninth.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Mets added three runs on a bases-clearing RBI double by Wilmer Flores, the first three RBIs of his career. Flores was another young player the Mets were trying to build around, and he was getting a chance to play third base with David Wright being out with a hamstring injury.

With the Mets up 5-0 now, Harvey had plenty of cushion. He went back out for the ninth in front of a rousing Citi Field crowd, looking for that elusive complete game shutout.

He started the inning, as Keith Hernandez described it on the broadcast, “throwing bullets.” At only 91 pitches, Harvey was still pumping 95 MPH+ past the Colorado hitters.

He retired the first Rockies hitter, Corey Dickerson, on four pitches after getting him to ground out to short. The second hitter, Dexter Fowler, also bounced out to shortstop after just two pitches. He was now one out away.

At 97 pitches with only one out to get, Harvey had a chance and not just a CGSO, but also a “Maddox”—a complete game in which the pitcher throws under 100 pitches—if he could retire Charlie Blackmon quickly. But Blackmon put any hopes of that to rest when he banged an 0-2 pitch off Harvey’s kneecap that bounced all the way into right field for a hit, just the fourth Colorado hit on the night.

Ray Ramirez came out to have a look at Harvey, but Harvey just quickly threw one warm-up pitch and waived him away. The crowd roared. He was determined to finish this.

Still, though, the Mets got action up in the bullpen just in case. Harvey was over 100 pitches now and the pain from that knee shot was going to set in soon. If he couldn’t retire Troy Tulowiztki, Harvey was probably done for the night.

Citi Field roared. Everyone was up on their feet, chanting Harvey’s name, hoping he could secure the final out.

Harvey fired three of the first four off the mark and fell behind 3-1 to Tulowizki. The stadium went into a worried murmur, but they got back into it when Harvey dotted a 98 MPH fastball in there for a second strike. He was now one strike away.

Dickerson also took second on defensive indifference, making him the first Rockies hitter to reach second base all night long.

On 3-2, Harvey tossed a 91 MPH slider that was in the middle of the strike zone, but Tuloqitzki popped it up on the right side of the infield. Daniel Murphy called off Ike Davis, and squeezed it for the final out. Sometimes a little luck can’t hurt.

Harvey did it. He had thrown a complete game shutout. He only struck out six on the night, but he wasn’t exactly getting lucky on balls in play either. Harvey induced 14 ground ball outs and three pop fly outs, meaning 23 of the 27 outs were on either strikeouts or bad contact. Only one of the singles he allowed, the last one to Dickerson, was actually struck well. The Rockies could not square him up at all.

Harvey’s Fangraphs game score for this one was 89, which was the highest game score for any of his starts since his near-perfect game against the White Sox.

With Harvey not walking anyone in this start, he had now made four starts post-All Star break and had walked just one batter in that stretch. He had not allowed a home run in those four starts, either. Take away that one inning in Miami, and this was as good as Harvey had pitched since his historically good April.

His ERA was now lowered to 2.09 on the season, and this win improved his record to 9-3. Harvey still had a ways to go to catch Clayon Kershaw, who sported a 1.91 ERA, but he was now closer than he’d been to the Dodgers ace since late June.

Of course, his next start would come against Kershaw’s Dodgers in Los Angeles.

Baseball reference box score