Matt Harvey pitches well in LA Angels debut. Is there more to come?
By David Rice
When the LA Angels signed Matt Harvey this winter they knew there was tremendous potential in Harvey’s right arm if he could find his groove and stay healthy. So far so good…
Early in the day on Friday the LA Angels received some bad news that power-hitting left fielder Justin Upton would be lost for up to three months due to a turf toe injury. This was coming on the heels of a 4-0 shutout loss to the Oakland A’s where the Angels only got three hits and basically looked anemic offensively.
When Matt Harvey took the mound the Angels saw the first glimpse of Harvey’s tremendous potential as he looked in control. In the first four innings Harvey allowed only one Oakland batter to reach base on a walk.
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While the Angels offense was still struggling to find itself, Harvey was keeping the Angels in it by throwing up zeroes on the scoreboard. In the fifth inning Harvey lost his command some walking the first two A’s batters, but was able to escape any damage when he induced A’s catcher Nick Hundley to ground into an inning-ending double play.
In the bottom of the sixth Harvey allowed a double to Matt Chapman and then a two-run homer to Kari’s Davis to put the A’s on top 2-0, but he was able to get through the inning with no more damage and keep the Angels within striking distance.
For the game Harvey threw 89 pitches, with 58 of them being strikes walking three and striking out one. He allowed just two runs on four hits. Not a bad first outing. The Angels rallied an inning too late to get Harvey the victory as they erupted four four runs in the 8th with the bigg blo being and Andrelton Simmons line drive two-run single up the middle that broke a 2-2 tie.
The Angels bullpen shut the A’s down in the final three innings with Hansen Robles, Ty Buttrey, and Cody Allen holding the A’s to no runs on three hits and striking out four batters. It was nice to see for Harvey who is trying to resurrect his career that looked so promising just three years ago as Harvey had a 25-18 record with a 2.56 ERA in his first three seasons but dropped to 16-26 with a 5.49 ERA in the last three seasons.
Injuries were a factor in Harvey’s decline, but also his work ethic and desire was also questioned. We will see if Harvey can continue to pitch well and be the ace of the staff until the Angels get Andrew Heaney back from injury.