What to Watch for: 4.19.13
Washington Nationals (9-6) vs. New York Mets (7-7)
RHP Stephen Strasburg (1-2, 2.95) vs. RHP Matt Harvey (3-0, 0.82)
When Stephen Strasburg made his first career start against the New York Mets back in 2010, he was just five outings removed from his electrifying, 14-strikeout debut, and the talk of the town around Major League Baseball. He was clearly the most dynamic, exciting player on a team whose other most notable star held down the fort as the defending National League Silver Slugger at third base, an award he would go on to win again that season.
Now, nearly three full years later as the Nationals face the Mets for the first time in 2013, it is young hurler Matt Harvey of New York commanding the buzz. Having won each of his first three starts with a sub-1.00 ERA, the eyes of New York and beyond will be on the young right-handed fireballer Friday night as he takes on the Nationals. Harvey represents another emerging star to go alongside David Wright, the Mets two-time Silver Slugger-winning third baseman.
And who will be opposite Harvey on the mound? Why, fellow 24-year-old Strasburg, of course.
The two might have met up in a parallel universe last season, but instead it was John Lannan, returning to his home in New York, who bested Harvey as the Nationals snagged a 1-0 September 12 road victory. Harvey struck out 10 in that affair, but lasted only five frames, needing a full 106 pitches. With Denard Span recovered from the flu that ailed him earlier in the week and back atop the lineup Friday night, you can be sure Washington will look to grind away at the youngster, as they have done to many opponents so far this season.
1. Span CF
2. Werth RF
3. Harper LF
4. LaRoche 1B
5. Desmond SS
6. Tracy 3B
7. Lombardozzi 2B
8. Suzuki C
9. Strasburg RHP
TWO OF A KIND
With his seven innings of one-run ball Wednesday night vs. Miami, Ross Detwiler earned his first victory of the season. He also became just the second pitcher in the history of the Nationals/Expos organization to ever start the season with three starts of at least six innings and one or fewer runs, joining future Hall-of-Famer Pedro Martinez (1994).
DOWN WITH THE SICKNESS
Bryce Harper shook off the flu to go 4-for-5 with a double, a run scored and an RBI in Wednesday’s series finale in South Florida. The defending NL Rookie of the Year is off to a hot start, batting .364/.417/.673 with a team-high five home runs and a share of the lead with 11 RBI (Ryan Zimmerman). Harper ranks in the top 15 in the National League in batting (tied, eighth), on-base percentage (15th) and slugging percentage (sixth).
With Wednesday night’s victory in Miami, Davey Johnson and his 1,295 career managerial wins have moved into the top 30 all-time. Johnson is currently tied for 30th on the all-time list with Hall-of-Famer Cap Anson, who posted 1,295 wins and a .578 winning percentage in 21 seasons (1875, 1879-98) primarily as a player/manager with the Phillies, White Sox, Chicago Colts and Giants. Before 2013 ends, Johnson is likely to surpass Hall-of-Famer Ned Hanlon (#29, 1,313 wins) and Chuck Tanner (#28, 1,352 wins).