New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey had a successful return to the mound as he recorded nine strikeouts in a 6-3 win over the Washington Nationals on April 9. Harvey missed the entire 2014 MLB season due to Tommy John elbow injury.
Matt Harvey is back with a vengeance for the New York Mets.
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Harvey recorded nine strikeouts after an almost two-year absence in a 6-3 win over the Mets' National League East rivals, the Washington Nationals, on April 9, per MLB.com. He last pitched on Aug. 24, 2013 and consequently missed the entire 2014 MLB season due to Tommy John elbow surgery.
Harvey also pitched six shutout innings while allowing just four hits, per MLB.com.
"As we have come to see," Mets manager Terry Collins told ESPN New York's Adam Rubin on Thursday. "Nothing he does surprises you."
MLB.com's Anthony DiComo reported on Thursday that Harvey showed no ill effects of his injury as his fastball even reached speeds of 97 mph. The Mets limited Harvey, who underwent a rigorous, 18-month rehab, to 91 pitches.
He did capitalize on whatever opportunities he had. He even struck out Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper on 96- and 97- mph fastballs, per DiComo.
Despite Harper lucking out on Harvey, the Mets ace has high hopes for the Nationals outfielder, per ESPN New York:
"He's tough out there. I keep saying it. I've said it a million times. He's gonna be Cy Young one day and everybody knows that. He's one of the toughest at-bats I've ever had. I've said that a million times also.
"Obviously we watched the last two games, and his bat was pretty hot. He hit the homer off Bartolo [Colon] and had a couple of hits yesterday. For me, I think really focusing on him was kind of a big challenge today."
Not only were Harvey's fastballs on cue, his breaking balls were, too, per The New York Times' Jay Schreiber. His first strikeout came on a curveball to Washington's leadoff hitter, Michael Taylor.
Harvey allowed his first hit with two outs in the second inning when Washington shortstop Ian Desmond recorded an opposite-field double down the right-field line, per Schreiber.
Harvey discussed his excitement with MLB.com after a long layoff:
"The excitment of being back on the mound in a regular-season game definitely set in when I was done warming up and walking in. Once we got three outs in the first, realizing I was about to go out to work was pretty exciting, and a lot of fun."
He also stressed to Rubin the offense giving him a six-run lead made things a whole lot easier:
"I don't know if I could draw it up any better. For me, it was nice to have that six-run lead and really be able to pound the zone. I thank the offense for that. It made it easy to throw strikes."
Harvey thoroughly outplayed his counterpart, Stephen Strasburg, who allowed three earned runs in 5 1/3 innings, per MLB.com.
Harvey is scheduled to make his next start on April 14 for the Mets' home opener against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field.
The 26-year-old Harvey has amassed a 12-10 win-loss record to go along with 261 strikeouts and a 2.39 ERA in 237.2 innings, per ESPN stats.
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