LA Angels: Can Matt Harvey Turn Things Around Against Rangers?
By Vincent Page
The last two starts Matt Harvey has made for the LA Angels have been complete disasters. He allowed a total of 14 runs in 8.1 innings, but could The Dark Knight return tonight against the Rangers?
Last time Matt Harvey faced the Rangers, he put the LA Angels in a deep deficit early into the game, allowing eight runs throughout the length of his start after being shelled for two home runs in the first inning.
However, in that same start Harvey didn’t look necessarily…awful? I know it sounds crazy to say that a pitcher who had as horrific as a final line as Harvey wasn’t bad that day. However, the Rangers simply had Harvey’s number and tattooed the ball throughout the evening.
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When I say Harvey didn’t look bad that night, the numbers somewhat back that up. He had a high whiff rate to go along with mid-90’s on his fastball throughout his outing. Usually that is a good recipe for a successful Harvey Day, but it hasn’t been the past two starts.
Despite the high whiff rate, Harvey has had trouble finishing batters off when he gets two strikes on them. He has always been a pitcher keen on striking out hitters, but his inability to get that third strike has obviously hampered him.
On top of the strikeout problems, opposing players have been making extremely hard contact against Harvey, evidenced by the three long balls he’s given up. Despite all of these problems, there is still hope that Harvey is able to bounce back tonight against the same Rangers team that shelled him for eight runs earlier this month.
First off, it’ll be his second time facing the lineup. While that may seem simple, any pitcher can benefit from a second matchup with hitters. While they obviously can watch as much film as any pitcher in history nowadays, nothing quite compares to the physical and mental battle between a pitcher and batter in real life.
Second, Harvey is coming off of a full week of rest. Thanks to a snow-out in Chicago Sunday, followed by a Jaime Barria spot start Tuesday, the Angels were able to push Harvey back two days, giving him extra time to rest and prepare for his start on Wednesday. It’ll be a new environment for Harvey, having never pitched in Globe Life Park, but he will have had enough time to prepare for it.
Once again, Harvey’s pitches have been good his last two starts. The movement on breaking balls and velocity of his fastballs have been reminiscent of his ace days with the Mets. He just has to limit the amount of mistake pitches he makes. If Harvey can do that Wednesday night, I have no doubt he can help the Angels come away with a win.