Mets rookie makes record-setting debut

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Mets rookie makes record-setting debut

From Comcast SportsNet

PHOENIX (AP) -- Matt Harvey gave the Mets a brilliant ray of hope Thursday night.

The heralded 24-year-old dazzled in his major league debut, holding Arizona to three hits and striking out 11 over 5 1-3 innings in New York's 3-1 win over the Diamondbacks.

"When I was warming up I looked around and kind of took everything in," Harvey said. "At that moment I really did believe that I was meant to pitch in the big leagues. It was everything I could have imagined. I just wanted to do everything I could to keep the team in a winning distance."

Harvey, the Mets' top pick in the 2010 draft, set a franchise record for strikeouts in a debut. He also doubled and singled to become the first pitcher since 1900 to strike out more than 10 and collect a pair of hits in his first game.

"If things don't work out as a pitcher he should become a hitter," said Miguel Montero, who had one of the Diamondbacks' three hits against the rookie.

Harvey allowed only Jason Kubel's soft single through the third base hole, vacated on an infield shift, a double to Montero on a changeup in the second and Aaron Hill's one out single in the third.

Harvey threw 106 pitches, 65 for strikes -- including his first two.

"He lived up to exactly what everybody has talked about him," said Mets manager Terry Collins. "Now I want him to go out the next time and be a little more comfortable yet pitch as effectively as he did today. He is a different cat."

Gerardo Parra, who reached base on a wild pitch after striking out, was the only Arizona hitter to reach third against Harvey.

While the Diamondbacks praised Harvey's poise, catcher Rob Johnson could see some adrenaline at work.

"I think he was pretty amped up," Johnson said. "The good thing about it was he was amped up down in the zone. It felt like he felt like he belonged here."

Scott Hairston hit a two-run double and Andres Torres tripled and scored for the Mets, who snapped a six-game losing streak.

New York, which is beginning an 11-game road trip, won for only the second time in 13 games since the All-Star break, narrowly avoiding the fate of the 1962 club that went 1-14 to start the second half.

"It's been a tough stretch," Hairston said. "Then to start a long road trip, it was good to get the win."

Bobby Parnell pitched around a pair of walks in the ninth for his third save.

Arizona starter Wade Miley (11-6), the third straight 2012 All-Star the Mets have faced, gave up three runs on nine hits in 5 1-3 innings, his shortest outing since going 3 2-3 innings on June 30.

"I was just pitching behind guys early," Miley said. "I was getting into 2-0, 2-1 counts -- fastball counts -- and they took advantage of it."

The Diamondbacks, who struck out 16 times and stranded 11 runners, have lost two straight after running off five wins in a row.

With Harvey keeping the Diamondbacks in check, the Mets looked like an entirely different club than they had been since the All-Star break.

Ruben Tejada led off the game with a single to center, went to third on Daniel Murphy's single to center and scored on Hairston's two-run double off the right field wall.

"It's a boost for everybody," Collins said. "But he's only going to pitch every five days. We need to do a lot more things to win games."

Torres made it 3-0 in the fourth when he tripled to center and scored on Johnson's sacrifice fly to center, barely sliding under a strong throw from Parra.

"You've got to try and minimize the damage and for the most part I was able to do that," Miley said.

Kubel scored the Diamondbacks' run in the eighth when he was walked by Jon Rauch, went to third on a double by Paul Goldschmidt and scored easily on Justin Upton's sacrifice fly.

Tim Byrdak came on for Rauch and, after hitting Montero with a pitch, struck out pinch-hitter Lyle Overbay with the tying runs on first and second.

NOTES: Harvey became the first Mets pitcher to get a pair of hits in his debut since David West on Sept. 24, 1988. Harvey is the 20th player from the 2010 draft to appear in a major league game, and joined Josh Edgin as the second Mets player from that draft to make his debut. ... Torres' triple snapped an 0-for-14 streak. . New York had allowed four or more runs in each of their past 13 games, the second-longest streak in franchise history. ... Montero has hit safely in 15 of his past 18 home games. ... Arizona CF Chris Young, who has hit .294 since the All-Star break to raise his average to .218, was given the night off in favor of the left-handed Parra. ... Before the game, the Mets recalled Johnson from Triple-A Buffalo to take the place of Mike Nickeas, who was optioned to Buffalo after Wednesday's loss. ... LHP Jonathan Niese will take the mound for the Mets on Friday against RHP Josh Collmenter. Niese gave up three earned runs in five innings in his only previous start at Chase Field.

NL East: For one day, Harvey silences critics with dominant outing

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NL East: For one day, Harvey silences critics with dominant outing

In New York, where your every move is dissected to a T by fans and media, achieving and maintaining sports stardom can be difficult to do. Just ask Matt Harvey, who went from being the toast of the town while helping the Mets to the World Series last October to having his ability (and character) roundly criticized after his rough start to the 2016 season. And after he lost back-to-back outings against the Nationals recently, it seemed like he had reached rock bottom. 

But for one outing, the man known as "The Dark Knight" managed to silence his critics with a vintage performance against the Chicago White Sox on Memorial Day. He allowed just two hits over seven shutout frames, striking out six and issuing just one walk in the Mets' 1-0 win. The victory raised his record to 4-7 and lowered his ERA to 5.37. 

And unlike his previous start, he addressed the media after the game. Per MLB.com: 

"There's a lot of emotion....It's been a while.…The idea is to do everything you can to help the team, and I felt like I wasn't doing that very well. Today, to be able to go out in a one-run ballgame like that and be able to put up zeros, was very exciting."

The difference for Harvey on Monday was establishing his dominant fastball that had been missing for most of the first two months of the season. His heater was clocked as high as 98 mph, a marked improvement over his previous starts. 

Harvey was considered a hero in 2015, his first full campaign post-Tommy John surgery, as he pitched a total of 216 innings between the regular season and the playoffs. No pitcher had ever thrown that many innings in the first season following the procedure. And it's precisely that fact that many have pointed to when discussing whether or not the 27-year-old right hander is still feeling the effects from last year's overuse. 

So will Harvey return to form? Can he reclaim his status at the Mets ace? It's too early to tell, but Monday's outing was the first that provided a light at the end of the tunnel. Just don't expect the circus to end anytime soon.  

"I think it's a first step," Harvey said. "Obviously, this isn't going to mean anything unless I continue to do this and stay with what we've been working on. It's a work in progress, but I'm happy that I was able to go out there, feel comfortable in my mechanics and get the job done."

Bryce Harper out of Nats lineup day after getting hit vs. Phillies

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Bryce Harper out of Nats lineup day after getting hit vs. Phillies

Nats (31-21) vs. Phillies (26-25) at Citizens Bank Park

Fresh off their comeback victory on Monday night, the Nationals will look to make it three straight wins overall as the continue their series against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Bryce Harper is out of the Nationals' lineup on Tuesday after he took a pitch off his right leg on Monday night. Harper was diagnosed with a contusion on his right leg and, as of last night, was considered day-to-day according to what manager Dusty Baker told reporters in Philly.

Pitching for the Nats will be Joe Ross (4-4, 2.52) in his 10th start of the season. He's coming off a strong performance of seven innings and just one earned run against the Cardinals. Ross saw the Phillies back on April 15 and tossed 7 2/3 scoreless frames in a Nationals win.

Former seventh overall pick Aaron Nola (4-3, 2.86) will take the mound for Philly. He's faced the Nats twice this season, once allowing seven earned runs in five innings on April 16 and then the other time going seven shutout frames in a Phillies win on April 28.

First pitch: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN2
Radio: 106.7 The Fan, XM 869
Starting pitchers: Nats - Joe Ross vs. Phillies - Aaron Nola

NATS

CF Ben Revere
RF Jayson Werth
2B Daniel Murphy
1B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Clint Robinson
3B Anthony Rendon
C Wilson Ramos
SS Danny Espinosa
RHP Joe Ross

PHILLIES

CF Odubel Herrera
SS Freddy Galvis
3B Maikel Franco
C Cameron Rupp
1B Ryan Howard
LF Tyler Goeddel
RF David Lough
2B Cesar Hernandez
RHP Aaron Nola

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Redskins' Norman tops Pro Football Focus' list of offseason acquisitions

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Redskins' Norman tops Pro Football Focus' list of offseason acquisitions

Redskins cornerback Josh Norman has been named No. 1 on ProFootballFocus.com’s list of 20 “offseason additions likely to make an immediate impact.”

Norman was PFF’s top-rated corner based on QB rating allowed (54.0 percent) last season.

Overall, the football analytics website graded the 28-year-old as the game’s sixth best corner in 2015 (tied with Arizona's Patrick Peterson).

RELATED: DEANGELO HALL WANTS KEVIN DURANT TO COME HOME

Norman, of course, signed a five-year, $75 million contract in Washington on April 22, just days after Carolina rescinded its franchise tag tender to the All-Pro corner. Now, he’s the Redskins’ best player on defense and, arguably, their best player on either side of the ball. 

“[Norman] should be a dramatic upgrade in Washington,” PFF’s John Breitenbach concluded in an article posted Wednesday.

Breitenbach added: "New Redskins defensive coordinator Joe Barry improved the defense in 2015, but had an obvious hole in the secondary opposite Bashaud Breeland. Chris Culliver struggled last season, allowing a QB rating of 134.8 (surrendering four touchdowns on 35 targets)."

That hole, obviously, will be filled by Norman, who is set to start opposite Breeland, the 2014 fourth rounder who's coming off a breakout sophomore season.

Culliver, meantime, was released on May 2.

Norman’s new teammates, meanwhile, couldn’t be any more pumped about Norman's arrival.

"I was excited, just adding another piece to the defense," four-time Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams said recently. "It’s extremely tough to come [up with] good corners. So to get one of his caliber is extremely exciting."

Defensive end Ricky Jean-Francois added: "He’s going to help us a lot. I feel like a lot of quarterbacks won’t really try to throw at him. And if they do, they are going to have to gameplan him. Just to have a solid corner and [other] veterans in your secondary, that should make Joe B’s job a lot easier. He can call blitzes. He can man-up. I know a lot of people say we’re good [in] zone, but with a corner like that, you can man-up and send that front after somebody."

During the NFL’s interminable offseason, there are lists ranking anything and everything. If this one turns out to be correct, though, the Redskins' defense could make a significant leap in 2016.

RELATED: SAFETY DEPTH CHART PREVIEW