Mets righty fourth pitcher to have game score of at least 97 so early in career
By Roger Schlueter
Before Matt Harvey took the mound vs. the White Sox on Tuesday night and flirted with a little bit of history, there had only been three contests in the live-ball era in which a pitcher -- within the span of his first 17 Major League games -- authored a dominant enough nine-inning performance to produce a game score (an equation used to measure a pitcher's dominance) of least 97.
On June 18, 1967, the Astros' Don Wilson -- in his 15th career game -- threw a no-hitter with 15 strikeouts and three walks for a game score of 99. Thirty-one years later, Wilson was joined by two others within the span of 23 days. The first was the Braves' Kevin Millwood, who -- in his 15th career game, played on April 14, 1998 -- threw a one-hit shutout with 13 strikeouts and no walks and came away with a game score of 98.
But even those extraordinary performances by Millwood and Wilson were somewhat dulled by Kerry Wood in his fifth career appearance on May 6, 1998. With 20 K's and no walks in a one-hit shutout, the Cubs right-hander posted a game score of 105 and dramatically reset the bar for pitchers just getting started in the big leagues.
This is the kind of company Matt Harvey, with his work Tuesday, now keeps. And when this latest effort is placed alongside what else he's done in his very short career, the "wow" factor continues.
Harvey, in his 17th career game, fanned 12 batters to run his career strikeout total to 128, and finished Tuesday's start with nine innings of one-hit, no-run ball. Harvey, who lost his bid for a perfect game with two outs in the seventh, produced a game score of 97 in the no-decision.
Harvey has had seven outings in which he's finished with at least seven innings pitched and no more than four hits allowed. Those seven through his first 17 games are tied for the most for any pitcher since 1916. Spec Shea, Dave Righetti and Hideo Nomo each had seven. The most for a Mets pitcher before Harvey had been Dwight Gooden's six.
Dating back to 1916, Harvey is one of 10 pitchers to have a no-decision in a start that featured exactly nine scoreless innings pitched and one hit or no hits allowed. Of the 10, Harvey had the most strikeouts.
No "W" for dominance
Pitchers who have tossed nine scoreless innings on no more than one hit in a no-decision since 1916.
Oct. 1, 1982
July 31, 1983
Aug. 26, 1986
May 16, 1997
July 12, 1997
May 23, 1999
May 28, 2002
June 8, 2004
July 10, 2010
May 7, 2013
* allowed no hits
Harvey's Game Score of 97 is the highest this season, and the highest for a Mets pitcher since David Cone (three-hit shutout with 19 K's and one walk) produced a 99 on Oct. 6, 1991.
Reds rally back
Facing Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel and down by one in the ninth, the Reds rallied with a pinch-hit solo home run by Devin Mesoraco and a game-winning shot by Shin-Soo Choo. Both of the home runs came with two outs.
The back-to-back shots in the ninth represented the first time the Reds had both a game-tying and game-ending home run in the same inning since April 4, 2005. In that game, Adam Dunn hit a two-run shot off the Mets' Braden Looper to tie the contest, and then the next batter -- Joe Randa -- hit a walk-off.
The most recent time the Reds had both a game-tying and game-ending home run in the same inning, with both coming with two outs, was on Aug. 27, 1977. In that game, Dan Driessen hit a game-tying inside-the-park home run, and then Johnny Bench hit a solo shot to give the Reds a 6-5 win over Tug McGraw and the Phillies.
Choo hit two home runs in the game, pushing the leadoff hitter's OPS for the season to 1.052. Looking way ahead, since 1916 there have been three players to have at least 100 games in the leadoff spot who finished the season with an OPS of at least 1.000: Paul Molitor in '87 (1.003), Brady Anderson in '96 (1.034), and Rickey Henderson in '90 (1.016).
Big Papi keeps rolling
Boston's David Ortiz went 1-for-4 on Tuesday and has hit safely in each of his past 27 games.
The streak began on July 2, 2012, and has included 15 games this season. Ortiz is one of 13 players since 1916 to have a multi-season hit streak that covered at least 27 games. The full list:
• 38 games: Jimmy Rollins (2005-06)
• 35 games: George Sisler (1924-25)
• 32 games: Harry Heilmann (1922-23) and Hal Morris ('96-97)
• 31 games: Vada Pinson (1965-66) and Ron LeFlore ('75-76)
• 30 games: Charlie Grimm (1922-23), Lance Richbourg ('27-28) and Sam Rice (1929-30)
• 29 games: Curt Flood (1961-62)
• 28 games: Lonnie Smith (1981-82)
• 27 games: Tommy Holmes (1944-45); Ortiz (2012-13)
Here and there
• Baltimore's Adam Jones went 1-for-3, giving him at least one hit in 29 of the Orioles' first 33 games. Since 1916, Jones is the sixth Browns/Orioles player to have at least one knock in 29 of the team's first 33. George Sisler opened the 1925 season by hitting safely in the team's first 33 contests, and in '37, Joe Vosmik had at least one hit in 30 of the club's first 33 games. Sisler opened the '25 season with a 34-game hitting streak, the longest to begin a year in American League history.
• Zach McAllister (7 2/3 innings, five hits) and two Indians relievers combined for a six-hit shutout, and Cleveland defeated Oakland, 1-0. The Indians, who have won eight of their past nine, have a pair of 1-0 wins this season. The Reds are the only other team with two such victories this year.
• In the Phillies' 6-2 win over the Giants, both Chase Utley and Ryan Howard homered, marking the 50th time the duo had gone deep in the same game. The total is the most for any pair of teammates in Phillies history. The Braves' Eddie Mathews and Hank Aaron hold the top mark, having homered in the same game 75 times.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.