By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Matt Harvey will be in familiar surroundings but in a rare spot as the New York Mets hurler was named the National League's starting pitcher against the American League's Max Scherzer for Tuesday's All-Star game.
Both pitchers will be making their All-Star debuts with the spotlight directly on them as starters at Citi Field, home of the Mets, in a Midsummer Classic that gives the winning league home field advantage in the World Series.
Harvey has compiled a 7-2 record with a sterling 2.35 earned run average (ERA) for the offensively challenged Mets.
Scherzer has amassed a remarkable 13-1 mark with a 3.19 ERA for the Detroit Tigers, taking his first loss of the season against the Texas Rangers on Saturday.
"It's a huge honor," the 24-year-old Harvey said on Monday. "I appreciate it. It's obviously here in New York. The fans have been great here all year. Hopefully I can make them proud."
The right-hander has turned in a quality start in 15 of his 19 outings and did not drop a decision until June 13, when the Cardinals beat the Mets 2-1. He opened the year with wins in his first four outings, yielding three runs on 10 hits.
Harvey will become just the third pitcher to make his first All-Star game start at his home ballpark. The others were Carl Hubbell of the New York Giants in 1934 and Esteban Loaiza of the Chicago White Sox in 2003.
"What a tremendous year he's had," said Bruce Bochy, managing the NL team after steering the San Francisco Giants to the World Series crown last season. "It really wouldn't have mattered what city we're playing in, with the year he's had."
AL manager Jim Leyland of the American League champion Tigers said there was no suspense about his choice as starter.
"This year's starting pitcher ... is our own Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers, 13‑1. Max Scherzer. I don't think I need to explain anything more than that."
The 28-year-old Scherzer was the first major league pitcher to begin a season 13-0 since Roger Clemens in 1986 for the Boston Red Sox.
"It means so much, especially for it being my first All-Star game," Scherzer said. "This is what you dream for."
(Editing by Frank Pingue)