This is a very serious young man as can be seen by his quotes: He is no-nonsense. He has a 34 year old head attached to a 24 year old arm and his words reveal it. He is confident, without being cocky. He is tough, without being boastful; strictly an old school throwback to yesterday. He works hard and gives the appearance of a craftsman practicing his craft. He gives a quote at the end that I would like readers of Statement Analysis to answer the two questions I have posted. I will give a hint: the sensitivity indictors are due to a specific reason; specific to baseball.
MINNEAPOLIS — Matt Harvey captivates an audience each time he pitches for the Mets, but yesterday took it to another level.
With two outs in the seventh inning on a frigid day at Target Field, the 24-year-old right-hander still hadn’t allowed a hit to the Twins. Then, on a 2-2 slider to Justin Morneau, the bubble burst.
Morneau swatted the pitch off the screen attached to the right-field foul pole, ending the no-hit watch and leaving Harvey to settle for an excellent performance — without a no-hitter.
“It was a good pitch and he just put a good swing on it,” Harvey said after his two-hitter over eight innings led the Mets to their second straight victory, 4-2 over the Twins. “Looking back I probably should have gone with another changeup or the fastball. But I made a good pitch and he put a good swing on it.”
Manager Terry Collins later admitted he had a pitch count in mind for Harvey, but wouldn’t divulge the number. Of course, it might have taken a SWAT team to remove Harvey from the game with a no-hitter intact.The Mets went 8,019 games since the franchise’s inception without a no-hitter until Johan Santana ended the drought on June 1 of last season against the Cardinals. Santana needed 134 pitches to complete his gem, but Harvey was working at a more efficient pace, at 87 pitches in the seventh when Morneau homered, and finished with 107 pitches.
“I might have dropped the gloves,” Harvey said.
Temperature at first pitch was 35 degrees, but Harvey, wearing his customary sleeves only to the elbow, seemed unaffected. A night earlier, with temperatures in the low 30s, Jon Niese indicated he had problems gripping the baseball.
Brian Dozier’s single with two outs in the eighth accounted for the Twins’ other hit against Harvey (3-0), who made it three straight starts in 2013 of at least seven innings pitched and one run or less allowed.
In 22 innings this season, Harvey has allowed six hits and six walks with 25 strikeouts. Morneau’s blast was the first home run against Harvey this season.
“That was the at-bat I felt we needed to get past,” catcher John Buck said. “I thought Morneau was our nemesis, which he showed. It wasn’t that bad of a pitch, it’s just [Morneau] is a freak.”
Harvey was hoping Morneau’s ball would hook foul, and nearly got his wish.
“I was blowing it foul, but I knew he hit it pretty good,” Harvey said.
The Mets (7-4) took control of the game with seven straight hits in the fifth inning to take a 4-0 lead. Marlon Byrd’s homer leading off the inning against Scott Diamond was the loudest of those hits.
Harvey, whose fastball had remained in the 94-95 mph range early, increased his velocity as the game progressed. After Dozier struck out leading off the sixth, Harvey reached back and struck out Eduardo Escobar on a 96-mph missile. Aaron Hicks followed with a fly to left that Lucas Duda momentarily misjudged before moving back to make the catch. Mike Baxter replaced Duda in left field for the seventh.
Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham were retired in succession in the seventh before Morneau’s homer.
“When you go through that lineup two times and they don’t have a hit yet, you know [Harvey] has got the kind of stuff to go through them a third time, too,” Collins said.
Harvey said he was aware of the no-hitter possibility early.
“I peeked a couple of times,” he said. “I think after the sixth inning I sat down in the dugout and realized it was kind of a possibility.
Question #1: Why the qualifiers and reduced commitment in the statement?
Question #2: Why the body posture in the statement?