Today’s pitching matchup at Citi Field, Adam Wainwright vs. Matt Harvey, is a duel between the two best pitchers in the National League according to the Factor12 (F12) Rating. F12 compares each MLB pitcher to the current statistical league average. (Here is a more detailed description of F12)
Wainwright (33.001 F12, 1st) is having an incredible season for the Cardinals, having allowed only seven walks and two home runs in 96 innings pitched. His ERA stands at just 2.34, 6th best in the NL.
The St. Louis ace comes at hitters with an impressive mix of pitches. He starts with a combination of low-90s 2-seam fastball and 89-90 mph cutter. The right-hander will primarily use the cutter to his glove side, pounding lefties inside. Wainwright’s signature pitch is his curveball, a weapon that I rate as one of the best single pitches in the game. It’s the pitch that famously ended the 2006 NLCS and seven years later it’s still Wainwright’s strikeout pitch. Adam also owns a tight mid-80s slider that he will sweep away from free-swinging righties. Wainwright replaced his changeup with a splitter at some point post-elbow surgery, giving him another swing-and-miss offering. The Georgia-born hurler’s repertoire is excellent, but it is his uncanny control of each pitch that makes him one of the top starters in the game.
[ fastball(87-93), cutter(87-90), curve(67-78), slider(84-89), splitter(80-85) ]
No secret to Mets fans, Harvey (32.100 F12, 2nd) has exploded onto the scene in 2013, striking out hitters in bunches. Batters are hitting just .196 against Harvey as he continues to blow away NL lineups in 2013.
If you haven’t realized by now, Harvey is the ultimate power pitcher. He throws a heavy mid-90s fastball out of his strong frame. Matt appears willing and able to pitch inside, as well as up in the zone. Harvey also has two excellent breaking balls. He fires a sharp slide-piece to his glove side that gets swings-and-misses. He’ll also twirl a hard, plus curveball. Harvey can throw the curve for a strike, and the action of the pitch can get K’s even when it’s in the heart of the plate. The fourth pitch in his arsenal is the changeup, which gets good deception and movement.
[ fastball(91-98), curve(79-86), slider(87-91), changeup(85-88) ]
This matchup hasn’t received the same hype as the Strasburg/Harvey duel from earlier in the season. However, rain permitting, we could be in for a more impressive display of pitching this afternoon.