The Mets and Yankees both had big wins on Monday, but before we get to that, a bit of baseball news pertinent closer to home.
Last night, Joe Nathan, a Pine Bush grad, recorded career save No. 300 as the Texas Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 5-4. It wasn’t without controversy, as Nathan recorded the final out on a crazy 3-2 pitch to Ben Zobrist.
Home plate umpire Marty Foster called the payoff pitch a strike even though it appeared well outside and low. Zobrist threw his bat and started to walk toward first, but Foster rang him up to end the game.
See that red square on the lower left? That’s the pitch. The black box is the rule book strike zone.
“You know, it was a tough time to have a bad call,” Zobrist said. “I just hope it doesn’t end up costing us the playoffs in the end”
“Had I had a chance to do it again I wouldn’t call that pitch a strike,” Foster said.
Anyway, Nathan might well have got the save even if Zobrist walked. There would have been two outs and runners on first and second with two out.
For Nathan, it’s been quite the career. He began as a starter with the Giants in 1999, but spent the entire 2001 season and most of 2002 in the minors. In 2003, he became a reliever and was traded to Minnesota before the 2004 season along with Boof Bonser and Francisco Liriano for A.J. Pierzynski.
From 2004 to 2009, Nathan was the Twins’ closer and was one of the best in the game. In 2010, Nathan missed the season with Tommy John surgery and returned to the Twins in 2011, with limited success.
In 2012, Nathan signed with the Rangers, where he’s been for the last two years. At 38, he’s become one of the best in baseball yet again.
The Mets got another great start from Matt Harvey Monday night in a 7-2 victory over the Phillies. Harvey gave up three hits, two walks and one run over seven innings, striking out nine. The Mets tagged Roy Halladay for seven runs over four innings, pushing Halladay’s season ERA to 14.73.
In two starts this season, Harvey is 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA, 19 strikeouts and four hits allowed. He’s been every bit the ace he was advertised as coming up through the minors. He’s already racked up 0.7 wins above replacement. Harvey had a 1.2 WAR over 10 starts last year. He’s striking out 12.21 batters per nine innings and is averaging 93.7 miles per hour on his fastball.
The Mets are 5-2 through their first seven games and will send Dillon Gee to the hill against Cliff Lee and the Phils tonight.
The Yankees didn’t get quite that type of pitching performance from Hiroki Kuroda in Cleveland, but the offense was able to tag Ubaldo Jimenez for seven runs in an 11-6 win.
Robinson Cano hit a pair of home runs and Travis Hafner also went yard in his return to Cleveland.
Middletown High School grad Mike Aviles had a pinch-hit 2-run home run in the eighth inning for the Indians. Aviles has had nine at-bats in four games, serving as a backup to Asdrubal Cabrera, Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis.
It’s Andy Pettitte and Carlos Carrasco tonight from Progressive Field.
Elsewhere around the league, Angels ace Jered Weaver learned he broke his left elbow as a result of a tumble he took in Sunday’s game of the week against the Rangers. The Angels expect him to miss the next 4-6 weeks as he heals.
Weaver was off his game so far this season. A 20-game winner in 2012 and an 18-game winner in 2011, Weaver isn’t the hardest-throwing guy, but he’s efficient and gets plenty of strikeouts.
This year, however, Weaver’s velocity was down to 85.5, on average, on his fastball. His career average is 89.1. As a result, he had to turn more to the slider and the changeup so far in 2013, which might explain his relatively poor performances before the injury.
The silver lining to this for the Angels is that the broken left elbow might give him some time to rest his right arm as well.
If you’re looking for some high-level baseball close to home, Army and Marist announced that the Hudson Valley Baseball Classic will be played at Dutchess Stadium on Weds., April 24. First pitch is 7:05 p.m.
The series has been played annually since 2006.
There is no admission, but you’ll need a complimentary ticket to get in. Check out the school websites or www.hvrenegades.com for more info.