In a period of less than a day and a half, we went from ‘there’s no way Matt Harvey will be on the Cincinnati Reds’ to ‘Matt Harvey will start for the Reds against the Dodgers on Friday night.’ Well, Friday night is now here, and Harvey’s about to debut for Cincinnati, and hopefully at least a few of you plan on staying up past your bedtimes to see it happen.
It’s difficult to put blinders on big enough to ignore the 5.93 ERA Harvey has posted over his last three seasons, a 212.1 IP sample that’s both large enough to cause concern while also highlighting how the injuries and surgeries he’s fought through have kept him on the shelf half the time. It’s also hard not to see his average fastball velocity of 92.6 mph in 2018 sitting well below the 95.9 mph level where it sat back in 2015, or that his overall pitch repertoire and usage of those pitches hasn’t really changed much since his fireballing days. In other words, either he’s going to have to start to pitch differently now that he doesn’t throw as hard, or at least start throwing those pitches in wildly different places to regain some of his previous success.
The Reds are banking on their ability to work with him through that transition, and that maybe - just maybe - they’ll be able to turn him back into a serviceable big league starter by the time the July 31st trade deadline rolls around.
Our first glimpse at that process will begin at some point after the Dodgers record three outs in the Top of the 1st inning. First pitch is set for 10:10 PM ET.
Los Angeles Lineup
Chris Taylor (.299 OBP) dropped to 6th in the Dodgers lineup:— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) May 11, 2018
- Thanks to their recent string of good pitching - which has oh so coincidentally come along with a win streak - the Reds pitching staff is no longer the worst in the majors...at least by ERA. Their 4.90 mark ranks as just the sixth worst in the game at this juncture.
- Of course, thanks to a combination of still having the worst FIP, HR/FB%, and HR/9 of all big league staffs, the team’s pitching still ranks dead last in the bigs in total fWAR. At 0.0, though, it’s finally not the only negative number in the game!
- The Enquirer’s Bobby Nightengale relayed earlier today that both Anthony DeSclafani and Michael Lorenzen are headed to AA Pensacola to begin rehab assignments starting Monday, which is rad.
- Go Reds. They’re my favorite team.