Matt Harvey zeroes in against Phils

PHILADELPHIA -- David Wright knew the Philadelphia Phillies would have their hands full with Matt Harvey one pitch into the bottom of the first inning -- a curveball for a strike from Harvey to Jimmy Rollins.

“I had a feeling they were going to be in trouble after the first pitch of the game,” Wright said after the Mets beat the Phillies, 8-0, in Sunday’s rubber game. “It’s a curveball for strike one. You kind of saw the look in Jimmy’s face, and then kind of looked at their bench. The guy throws upper-90s. To start the game off with a curveball just to show you can throw it for a strike is pretty impressive.”

Matt Harvey

Matt Harvey

#33 SP
New York Mets

2013 STATS

  • GM16
  • W7

  • L1

  • BB24

  • K121

  • ERA2.05

Harvey limited Philadelphia to two hits and a walk in six scoreless innings before departing with his pitch count at 72 after a 20-minute rain delay.

Given Harvey’s low pitch count, Dillon Gee’s elbow tendinitis and a motivation to separate the flamethrowers Harvey and Zack Wheeler in the rotation anyway, Terry Collins sounded inclined to have Harvey leapfrog Gee in the rotation.

The Mets have an off-day tomorrow. After gaining a consensus with Sandy Alderson and Dan Warthen, it is now likely Harvey will go Friday with Gee on two extra days of rest Saturday and Wheeler on his already planned day Sunday against the Washington Nationals back at Citi Field.

That would get no quibble from Harvey.

“Obviously I like pitching Friday nights, especially against the Nationals,” Harvey said.

Said Collins: “He didn’t throw many pitches, and it gives Dillon a couple of more days to kind of rest his arm a little bit. So we’re going to discuss that a little bit more in the next day or so and make a decision.”

Harvey becomes the first Mets pitcher since Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004 to have two wins in the ballpark in a season, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

For the second straight start he registered 100 mph on a fastball, this time with an 0-2 offering to Ben Revere to end the second inning.

“Yeah, I let that one go,” Harvey said. “It felt good today, and with 0-2 I geared up a little bit.”

Harvey twice has registered 100 mph with a fastball this season. The only other starter to hit triple-digits in 2013: Pittsburgh Pirates rookie Gerrit Cole, who has a 101 mph as well as eight 100s.

Phillies third baseman Michael Young became the latest to offer a Harvey-Justin Verlander comparison. Young also mentioned Felix Hernandez.

“Verlander jumps out because he holds his velocity like Verlander does through the game,” Young said. “Felix was like that for a long time. But Verlander jumps out with good velocity and he can throw offspeed pitches for strikes, too.

“Command is the most important thing. There are a lot of guys in the big leagues that throw hard. [Harvey] can control his pitches and gets ahead in the count. That’s why he’s had his success. And when you couple that with great stuff, that’s why he’s had a lot of success.”

Harvey agreed with the decision to pull him, he insisted.

“Absolutely,” he said. “If it was maybe 10 minutes or whatnot it might have been a different story. But I think once we approached the 20-, 30-minute range they decided it was a good idea to shut things down. Especially with a six-, seven-run lead and an off-day tomorrow, you can let the bullpen come in and take over.”

Said Collins: “I came upstairs, talked to Matt, and said, ‘No. Not worth it.’ I just can’t take the chance. I just couldn’t do it. We said that was enough. … I explained to him: 'The upside is too high. It’s just too high. You pitched your brains out the last two starts.’ We’ve got to keep moving forward. I don’t want to take a step back. He understood.”

Harvey was pretty pleased with his hitting, too. He had a run-scoring double in the fifth, and smoked another shot back at the mound that was fielded.

“I looked pretty locked in,” Harvey said. “It’s nice. I’ve been struggling. So obviously getting the swing back is important to me, and definitely to my dad. I know he was happy about that. He’s a hitting coach, so I don’t want to embarrass him or anything.”

Quipped Wright: “He might be DHing for us in Chicago.”