PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Matt Harvey reared back and fired a 98 mph fastball on his 102nd pitch, and finished up with five more clocked at 95.
On a night when Roy Halladay looked more like an aging star on the decline, Harvey showed he’s got the stuff to replace him as the big-time ace in the NL East.
Harvey threw seven impressive innings, John Buck hit a three-run homer and the New York Mets roughed up Halladay in a 7-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday.
“A lot of things were working good for me,” Harvey said. “I’ve been throwing strikes and have had good run support.”
Harvey (2-0) followed up a dominant first start with another sharp outing. He gave up one run, three hits and struck out nine. The 24-year-old righty allowed one hit and fanned 10 in seven scoreless innings against San Diego last Wednesday.
“Nothing surprises me about him,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “When he needs it, it’s there.”
Meanwhile, Halladay (0-2) barely resembles the two-time Cy Young Award winner who had 40 wins and tossed a perfect game and postseason no-hitter in his first two years with the Phillies from 2010-11.
Halladay allowed seven runs and six hits in four-plus innings. He’s given up 12 runs in 7 1-3 innings in two starts after a tough spring. Halladay is coming off a down year in which he missed two months with shoulder and back problems, raising concerns about his health.
Halladay said he feels fine and could throw 200 pitches. He blamed his problems on trying too hard to make perfect pitches.
“Ninety-five percent is mental,” Halladay said. “It’s simplifying and getting back to basics and not trying to force things.”
While Halladay is trending downward, Harvey is clearly on the rise. A 2010 first-round draft pick, he simply blew away hitters.
“When you come to Philly, you’re usually (fired up) higher than usual,” Harvey said. “I tried to tone it down. When you face Doc, it’s something special.”
Halladay tossed a perfect first inning before his troubles began. Marlon Byrd ripped a one-out double to straightaway center in the second and Halladay hit Lucas Duda with a pitch. Buck followed with an opposite-field drive way out to right-center.
Buck has three homers and 12 RBIs in the first seven games, helping the Mets to a 5-2 start. New York has hit at least one homer in every game, its longest streak to start a season since eight in a row in 1987.
“The key is I just feel good and I’m not trying to do too much,” Buck said.
Duda lined an RBI single with two outs in the third to give the Mets a 4-0 lead. They chased Halladay with three straight hits in the fifth. Daniel Murphy started with a double, David Wright followed with an RBI single and Ike Davis singled to end Halladay’s night.
Chad Durbin entered and retired two batters around a walk before allowing a two-run single by Ruben Tejada that made it 7-1.
Jimmy Rollins doubled and scored on Ryan Howard’s sacrifice fly in the fourth. Rollins knocked in the other run on an RBI groundout off Josh Edgin.
The Phillies are off to a 2-5 start. They’re hoping to return to the postseason after their run of five straight NL East titles ended with an 81-81 finish last year.
They’ve got a long way to go, however.
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