Lost in the excitement of the New York Mets and Miami Marlins’ 15-inning battle and the 19-inning epic between the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim was a pitching showdown between two of baseball’s most exciting young arms. Matt Harvey versus Jose Fernandez was scheduled to be some fine Monday evening viewing, on paper. Alas, Fernandez struggled with consistency and saw his night come to a halt following the fourth inning, and Harvey threw 121 pitches through 5.1 innings of work.
Harvey struck out seven Marlins while walking two and giving up one earned run on seven hits. Fernandez surrendered two earned runs on three hits and three walks, with the damage coming off a two-run shot by John Buck in the fourth. The 20-year old rookie struck out four, showing off some near NSFW nastiness in the process. We shall examine.
Fernandez flashed a filthy changeup for a swinging strike two to Lucas Duda in the first inning.
You can swing at that if you like, but there’s no hitting it.
Mike Baxter would be Fernandez’s third strikeout victim thanks to a couple of generous called strikes/solid framing job by Rob Brantly. Baxter took a called strike two on this active changeup from Fernandez.
Here’s how the pitch looked from Baxter and Brantly’s perspective:
That’s a ball per Brooks Baseball’s Pitch FX tool, but still, that movement.
Daniel Murphy became Fernandez’s fourth and final strikeout victim to end the third inning. Murphy went down swinging on another changeup from Fernandez, but not before the big righty dropped this goofy curveball for a called strike two.
As Pitch FX will show us, that’s pretty much perfect:
The young Marlins’ right-hander has the stuff to match up with the much more celebrated Harvey, even if he’s still figuring it out. Fernandez doesn’t have the gaudy K% and impeccable peripherals that Harvey currently possesses, but if he can continue to develop his already plus-heavy arsenal then he may not be far behind him in some spreadsheet columns.
Pitch FX data and images via Brooks Baseball