The Mets weren’t entirely sure Matt Harvey was ready, but the 2010 first-round pick sure looked the part in his debut Thursday against the Diamondbacks.
While pitching 5 1/3 scoreless innings, Harvey became just the 13th pitcher in major league history to strike out at least 11 batters in his debut. He allowed three hits and walked three on his way to getting the victory in the Mets’ 3-1 win.
The major league record of strikeouts in a debut is 15, established by the Dodgers’ Karl Spooner in 1954 and matched by the Astros’ J.R. Richard in 1971. Stephen Strasburg fanned 14 in his first start two years ago. Besides Strasburg, the most recent pitcher to strike out at least 11 batters in his debut was Oakland’s Tim Hudson in 1999.
Harvey definitely seemed amped up tonight, throwing 95-98 mph instead of his usual 93-96 mph. He wasn’t flawless when it came to command, but Diamondbacks hitters were swinging right through his fastball and slider. It looks like he’ll be a force to be reckoned with, perhaps in the batter’s box as well. He doubled and singled in his only two at-bats tonight.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.
Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.
Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.
Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”