Harvey uses outer third almost to perfection

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Matt Harvey had a perfect game in the seventh inning against the White Sox.Matt Harvey was just about as perfect as possible without being perfect against the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday.

Harvey is the only player in the Modern Era (since 1900) to pitch nine innings with at least 12 strikeouts allowing no walks and only one hit with no decision, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

9 IP, 12 K, 1 or Fewer Hits, No Decision
Modern Era (Since 1900)

The Mets ace went the first 6 ⅔ innings without allowing a base runner. Harvey is the first Mets pitcher with at least 6 ⅔ perfect innings since Rick Reed on June 8, 1998 (also 6 2/3).

Harvey going deep against an AL Central team without allowing a hit shouldn’t be a surprise. He also threw 6 ⅔ innings of no-hit ball against the Minnesota Twins on April 13.

Harvey is off to quite the incredible start to his young career. He’s the only pitcher in the last 100 years with at least 125 strikeouts and 25 or fewer earned runs allowed in his first 17 career starts, according to Elias.

How did Harvey dominate the White Sox?

• Harvey got 20 of his 27 outs, including nine strikeouts, on pitches on the outer third of the plate or further outside. A career-high 63 percent of his pitches were on the outer third. Of the 13 right-handed batters he retired, 11 came on outer-third pitches.

• Harvey retired the first 20 hitters he faced and threw a first-pitch strike to 16 of them. The first 2-0 count Harvey went to came to Adam Dunn, the batter after Alex Rios' infield single broke up the perfect game bid.

• He started ahead 0-1 to 17 of 28 batters and threw first-pitch strikes to 20 of them. Rios' hit came after an 0-1 count, but for the season hitters are 9-for-102 (.088) against Harvey after starting behind 0-1, the lowest average any starting pitcher this season.

• For the first time in his career, Harvey did not allow a "well-hit" ball, as judged by the Inside Edge scouting service.

• The White Sox put nine of Harvey's off-speed pitches in play and hit eight on the ground. A season-high 66 percent of his off-speed pitches were down in the zone or below it.