Tonight, the Yankees will finally get a first hand look at the young pitcher that has managed to be responsible for more than a quarter of his team's wins, Matt Harvey. The young righty is 4th in the NL in ERA and 1st in WHIP. He faces Hideki Kuroda; a pitcher who is having his own phenomenal season.
Aside from their age and experience, the most significant difference between the two pitchers will be how much contact batters make against them. Harvey is 4th in strikeouts and 1st in opponent batting average in the NL; opponents, essentially, haven't touched him. This leaves little room for balls finding gaps. Two of the Yankees' high strikeout guys will not be in the lineup tonight (Hafner, Nix). That leaves Gardner, who's going to have a heck of a time trying to catch a walk from Harvey.
On the other hand, Kuroda relies on contact for outs--more grounders than fly balls. The Mets lineup should be manageable for Kuroda. He will have to work around Murphy and Duda who have shown hot bats in the Mets' previous two series. Even though David Wright has struggled lately, he's always a threat and has shown success against Kuroda (6 for 17).
Although fans hope tonight's Yankees run production will be feast to last night's famine, keep in mind the Yankees tend to make young pitchers look more dominating than they turn out to be in the long run. Like with any other top pitcher, the Yankees will have to get Harvey's pitch count up to get into the Mets bullpen or score enough runs to force Mets manager Terry Collins to pinch hit for Harvey early.
The bottom line for tonight is that it will be a great pitching matchup. Just as non-Mets fans have been keeping an eye on Harvey all season, all eyes will be on the Yankees to see if they get through Harvey and still look like a team ready to take back first place.