Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pitching Power Duo: Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler

If we were to compare yesterday's performances between Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler last night, Harvey's flirtation with a no-hitter until the 7th inning was better, though an argument could be made about Wheeler keeping the Braves off the scoreboard.

Harvey(W, 6-1)        7.033331302.16

Wheeler, Z(W, 1-0)6.04005700.00

Stats courtesy

But it's not a fair comparison, as yesterday was Harvey's 25th career Major League start.  So let's expand on this some more, and compare the two aces in their debut.

Matt Harvey, debut July 26th, 2012 at Arizona
Harvey, M(W, 1-0)5.130031100.00

Zack Wheeler, debut June 18th, 2013 at Atlanta
Wheeler, Z(W, 1-0)6.04005700.00

On initial look, you would have to say Matt Harvey was the superior one on the mound in his debut, having punched out 11.  Wheeler walked 5, but did strike out 7 in his debut.  But the two situations are different.  Harvey pitched in an enclosed stadium in Arizona, whereas Wheeler pitched outdoors at Turner Field.  Harvey was pitching thousands of miles away from his hometown of New London, Connecticut, and Wheeler was pitching just miles away from his hometown of Smyrna, Georgia, a short [well... depending on when you're driving through the heart of Atlanta] ride down I-75.

That's not mentioning when Harvey pitched against the Arizona Diamondbacks, they were 49-49 and struggling to keep pace with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants.  Wheeler's debut was against the NL East leading Atlanta Braves, sitting happily 13 games above .500.

And of Wheeler's 5 walks, four of them came in the first three innings, including one to the first batter he faced.  Maybe it was butterflies.  But he regained his composure and made sure those free passes did not come up on the scoreboard later in the inning.

So who had the better debut?  Does it matter?

Not really.  What matters is that yesterday's doubleheader sweep showed Mets fans that a brighter future is in store, and that we should be excited to see these two continue to grow and shine.

The Mets now have a 1-2 punch in their rotation that hasn't been seen since the prime of Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey last year.  And even though Dillon Gee gave up the walk-off home run to Freddie Freeman on Monday, he has been steadily improving from his low form he experienced at the start of the season.  Jeremy Hefner has been improving of late as well, posting a 3.25 ERA through his last 10 starts.

Now if the Mets bats can help translate these fine pitching performances into wins...

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