Matt Harvey, the no-hit bid, and the next step for him

Matt Harvey 1 polaroidIn yesterday’s 4-2 win over the Twins, Matt Harvey allowed a run on two hits with two walks and six strikeouts in eight innings.

Harvey took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning, but with two outs and Justin Morneau at the plate, Harvey allowed a solo home run off the right field foul pole to end the no-hitter.

“We both looked at each other and said, ‘Changeup.’ And we both agreed,” Buck said after the game. “Shoulda, coulda, wouldas. It wasn’t that bad of a pitch. It’s just he’s a freak.”

Harvey improved to 3-0 with a 0.82 ERA with six walks and 25 strikeouts in 22 innings. His 2.5 hits per nine innings and 0.545 WHIP lead the league, and he currently owns a 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings rate as well and has walked just 2.5 batters per nine innings in his three starts this season.

“I was blowing [Morneau’s home run] foul, but I knew he hit it pretty well,” Harvey said. “If it was going anywhere, it was going out.”

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Harvey is the first pitcher in modern major league history (since 1900) to win each of his first three starts of a season, with at least 25 strikeouts and six or fewer hits allowed over those three games.

Michael Baron, Contributor

Harvey was unbelievable yesterday. He had no-hit stuff from the very first pitch he threw, and simply dominated the Twins for eight innings. If he had gotten that slider (which was clocked at 90 mph) another inch inside and come off his fastball just a little more, Morneau might have pulled that ball foul, and Harvey could have easily extended his no-hit bid. It’s a game of inches, as proven by that home run, but either way, Harvey’s stuff has been simply dominating through the first part of the season. What’s more, he’s been able to do this in poor weather conditions in two of the starts.

Harvey has been simply captivating over the first two weeks of the season. He is must-see TV every five days, and the whole baseball world seems to tune into every pitch Harvey throws. He is a phenom in this game, yet he has handled it maturely and professionally since the day he signed with the Mets in 2010. When he first came up last year, there were no expectations – it was basically about letting him develop at the big league level, and showing what his stuff was all about. In a blink of an eye, he’s taken the next step and become a polished pitcher and is beyond that development stage – he has the mound presence of a ten-year veteran, and is clearly building an identity of a winning baseball player for himself. When thinking about the future of this franchise, and adding arms such as Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard to the mix, it’s hard not to be ecstatic about the possibilities…

By the way, Harvey’s average fastball velocity yesterday was 95.42 mph, and threw 45 of his 62 fastballs for strikes with a 17 percent swing-and-miss rate on that pitch. That’s astonishing…