Harvey, Scherzer to start All-Star game
NEW YORK (AP) — Young Mets pitcher Matt Harvey will start for the National League in the MLB All-Star game, while 43-year-old veteran Mariano Rivera, in his final season, may well finish for the American League.
At this time last year, Harvey was pitching in the minor leagues, but on Tuesday night, he’ll be starting against Detroit’s Max Scherzer in front of a sellout crowd at New York’s Citi Field and a worldwide television audience.
“Having the opportunity to take the ball is something I’ll never forget,” Harvey said Monday.
At 24, Harvey is the youngest All-Star starting pitcher since the Mets’ Dwight Gooden in 1988, when he was 23. He’ll also be the first pitcher from the host team to start an All-Star game since Houston’s Roger Clemens in 2004 and just the 11th overall.
“It really wouldn’t have mattered what city we were playing in with the year that he’s had, the impressive numbers that he’s put up,” said San Francisco’s Bruce Bochy, the NL manager. “He would have been the starting pitcher.”
Harvey has a 7-2 record with a 2.35 ERA and an NL-high 147 strikeouts. He’s made 29 MLB starts — the fewest for an All-Star starter since Hideo Nomo with 13 in 1995.
Harvey throws the hardest slider and curve in the majors, and he ranks second in swinging strikes at 12.7 percent, just behind Texas’ Yu Darvish (13.3) and ahead of Scherzer (12.3).
“I don’t even know what he’s throwing. He throws everything,” Washington’s Bryce Harper said.
Scherzer, 28, had the most dominant first half in a quarter century in terms of wins. His 13-0 record before Saturday’s loss to Texas was the most wins in a perfect start since Clemens won his first 14 decisions in 1986.
Detroit’s Justin Verlander was the AL starter and loser last year. Scherzer (13-1, 3.10 ERA) joins him to become the first pitchers from the same club to start consecutive All-Star games since Arizona’s Randy Johnson (2000-01) and Curt Schilling (2002).
“We go throughout the season and we see guys who absolutely deal, and for skipper to give me the nod over those guys just means so much to me,” Scherzer said Monday, sitting next to Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who will pilot the AL squad.
Rivera, at 43, will be the oldest All-Star player this year. With 30 saves in 32 chances and a 1.83 ERA in his farewell season for the New York Yankees, he’s still among the best in MLB.
“I think it would be probably the most beautiful touch in the world if we could somehow get a lead on the National League and play the ninth inning with the greatest closer of all-time coming out of the bullpen,” Leyland said.
The Panamanian veteran has played in 13 All-Star games, throwing eight scoreless innings and recording four saves.
“It’s not emotional yet,” Rivera said. “Now, that could change by tomorrow.”
The managers also announced their starting lineups Monday.
Bochy’s batting order for the NL has Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips leading off, followed by St. Louis right fielder Carlos Beltran, Reds first baseman Joey Votto, Mets third baseman David Wright, Colorado left fielder Carlos Gonzalez, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado designated hitter Michael Cuddyer and Washington center fielder Bryce Harper.
In the AL, Leyland has the Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout in left field and leading off, followed by New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera, Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis, Toronto right fielder Jose Bautista, Boston designated hitter David Ortiz, Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer and Baltimore shortstop J.J. Hardy.