Mets will skip Matt Harvey’s final first-half start

4 Comments

Matt Harvey has thrown his last pitch of the first half, as the Mets announced that they’ll skip his final first-half turn in the rotation Saturday.

Harvey threw a career-high 121 pitches Monday and has been dealing with a blister on his right index finger for several weeks, so this is an easy way for the Mets to limit his workload. Of course, it also clears the path for Harvey to start the All-Star game Tuesday at Citi Field.

Harvey finishes the first half with a 2.35 ERA in 19 starts and a league-leading 147 strikeouts (with just 28 walks) in 130 innings. Carlos Torres will get the spot start Saturday in his place against the Pirates.

Hunter Pence is mashing for the Rangers

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images
3 Comments

Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.

Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.

Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.

What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.

That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.