Mets' Matt Harvey Debuts With 11 Strikeouts

Phoenix, AZ, USA; New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey (33) pitches during the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the third inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE

On the 13th of April in 1967, Tom Seaver made his major-league debut and struck out eight Pittsburgh Pirates.

Three days later, Bill Dennehy made his major-league debut and struck out eight Philadelphia Phillies.

Seaver finished his career with 311 wins, and Dennehy finished his with one. But they have this in common: Seaver set the New York Mets' strikeout record for a pitcher making his debut, and Denehy tied it. In the 45 years since, nobody has equaled Seaver and Denehy's record, let alone broken it.

Until Thursday night, when a kid named Matt Harvey equaled, broke, and then destroyed that record; in just 5⅓ innings, Harvey struck out 11 Arizona Diamondbacks. He did that mostly with a mid-90s fastball, along with a hard 12-to-6 curveball; in the fourth inning, Ron Darling compared Harvey's repertoire to Darryl Kile's.

Now, one should remember that we live in a Strikeout Era. Seaver's rookie season was a pitcher's season. But while 22 percent of all outs in 1967 were strikeouts in the National League, this season it's been 28 percent.

If you're looking for a truly singular achievement, there's this: According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Harvey -- who rapped two singles in his two at-bats -- became the first pitcher since 1900 (and probably the first pitcher, period) to debut with at least 10 strikeouts while also collecting two hits.

So, he's got that going for him.

And the Mets have something going for them, too.

After a good few months this season, they're sinking. But next season they're going to have R.A. Dickey, Johan Santana, Dillon Gee, Jonathan Niese, and Matt Harvey. They've got another hot pitching prospect, young Zach Wheeler, stashed away in Class AAA.

The Mets do have some holes to fill, especially in the outfield. But young pitching is perhaps the game's most precious commodity. And the Mets seem to have more than most.

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