The duel: Strasburg vs. Harvey
Two of the most electrifying pitchers in baseball will take the mound against each other today, as Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals take on Matt Harvey and the visiting New York Mets. In the rubber-match of the first season series between the two division-rivals, the game surprisingly means a lot to both clubs.
The New York Mets and their fans welcome back phenom pitcher Matt Harvey, who missed all of the 2014 season due to Tommy John surgery. In 2013, Harvey pitched 178.1 innings with 191 strikeouts, recording an ERA of 2.27 to go along with a 9-5 record. The Mets are hoping he can pick up right where he left off; which might not be a tall-order, Harvey ‘s velocity has been clocked in the mid-to-high 90s at Spring Training where he had a 1.19 ERA in 55 innings. The “other” New York team, as they are known in some parts, happen to be putting together a solid clubhouse if the veterans can stay healthy offensively (Granderson, Wright, Murphy, Duda), and the rotation can hold up through a long MLB season, do not be surprised to see the Mets contend for a wild card in September. It starts today against the World Series favorite Washington Nationals.
The favored Washington Nationals will send their own phenom pitcher to mound in Stephen Strasburg, who led the NL in strikeouts last season with 242, in only 215 innings. However, in the last two seasons Strasburg has owned a 3-6 record in April with an ERA in the mid 3.5’s. Take that as you see fit, but when I look at those numbers, I see a pitcher who needs a few games to fully activate their arm and shake the offseason rust off. The Nationals need to get something going offensively, to start the season, as they have managed just three runs on ten hits, in two games. Not World Series caliber numbers for the perennial favorite.
So who will win the matchup of star pitchers? I’ll take the underdog New York Mets to continue to fool the Nats offense, in a low scoring affair. First pitch will be at 1:08pm EST.
Dan Schalk is the Head Writer for MFST, cool people follow him on Twitter @ffsportstalk