(Sports Network) - Early-season phenom Matt Harvey can pitch the New York Mets
to a series split on Sunday afternoon when they host the Pittsburgh Pirates in
the finale of a four-game set at Citi Field.
The 24-year-old Connecticut native was 3-5 in 10 starts in a brief major-
league debut last season, then began 2013 in the rotation and instantly made a
He strung together defeats of San Diego, Philadelphia, Minnesota and
Washington to begin the season while allowing a combined three runs on 10 hits
in 29 innings and posting a 0.93 earned run average.
His win streak has since been snapped by three consecutive no-decisions, but
he was nearly pristine in his most recent start, a 1-0 New York win against
the Chicago White Sox in which Harvey allowed one hit, walked none and struck
out 12 in nine innings of work.
The Mets won the game for reliever Bobby Parnell in the bottom of the 10th.
Harvey, who allowed a .200 opposition batting average last season, is
permitting just a .133 clip through 49 1/3 innings this season.
He has never faced the Pirates.
He's opposed by Venezuelan righty Jeanmar Gomez, who's starting for the third
straight time after working in relief in his initial five outings of 2013.
The 25-year-old, who replaced Erik Bedard in the Pirates' rotation, compiled a
2.63 earned run average in 13 2/3 innings of relief work, including a defeat
of the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 8.
In two starts, against Milwaukee and Seattle, Gomez has pitched nine full
innings while allowing six hits and two earned runs with four walks and eight
The defeat of the Mariners on May 7 evened his career mark at 16-16 after he'd
gone 14-16 in 42 appearances with the Cleveland Indians through the end of
Gomez was traded to the Pirates for a minor-leaguer on Jan. 9 and has never
faced the Mets.
On Saturday, Jose Tabata went 4-for-5 with a two-run homer, an RBI double and
three runs scored as the Pirates received a sharp season debut from Francisco
Liriano in a 11-2 win over the Mets.
The Pirates recorded 16 hits, their second straight day in double figures, and
tagged Mets starter Jonathon Niese (2-4) for five runs in the fifth inning to
break the contest open.
Jody Mercer hit a pair of solo homers, Mike McKenry knocked in three runs,
Clint Barmes drove in a pair and Andrew McCutchen had an RBI and scored twice
in the Pirates' second straight win.
It was a successful first outing in a Pittsburgh uniform for Liriano (1-0),
who struck out nine over 5 1/3 innings and allowed just a run on six hits. The
lefty signed with the Pirates in February, but was in the middle of recovering
from a broken right arm suffered in December.
"I tried not to get too excited," Liriano said. "I didn't want to try to do
Niese's struggles continued, charged with the loss for the fourth time in his
last five starts. He gave up eight runs on eight hits and lasted only 4 1/3
"I'm not really deceiving anybody right now," Niese said. "With my arm angle
being down, I think they can pick the ball up a lot sooner, and that's why I
think they're not chasing some of the pitches that they normally have chased.
Hopefully I can get it back."
New York only had six hits, with Marlon Byrd driving in the only run on an
New York won five of its seven matchups with the Pirates last season.
The Sports Network