What do the LA Angels do for an encore to Friday night’s miraculous combined no-hitter. They send out the black sheep of the rotation this season in hopes of him finding his way back. Matt Harvey was up to the challenge on Saturday night.
Saying that LA Angels free agent signee Matt Harvey has been a bust so far this season is the understatement of the year. Going into Saturday night’s start Harvey had an ERA of 7.50 and a WHIP of 1.52, with a 2-4 record. Harvey had three quality starts all season where the other seven he failed to even make It through the fifth inning.
Harvey went on the disabled list at the end of May with a strained upper back and has not pitched for the Angels since. He struggled badly in his first two rehab appearance, and was shut down for a couple of weeks. Then in early July he started back again throwing a rehab start in Inland Empire followed by one a week later in Salt Lake City where he looked somewhat better.
In all honesty though Harvey may not have gotten the opportunity to rejoin the Angels rotation if not for Tyler Skaggs death. Not only that, Tyler Skaggs deserves an assist. Harvey credits Skaggs with always being encouraging and pumping Harvey up even when things were really bad. “Remember you’re the Dark Knight,” Harvey said Skaggs would always tell him that. “Although I’m not really throwing like the Dark Knight like I used to, he kept telling me that. He (Skaggs) was always there to pick me up.”
Harvey was hoping to make the most of his second chance, especially on the night that would have been Tyler Skaggs 28th birthday. So the stage of redemption was set for Harvey, all he had to do was walk through the door.
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On this night Harvey was up to the challenge. In the first five innings he pitched Harvey only allowed two hits and no runs. The Angel offense staked him to a 6-0 lead. Thanks to an RBI- single by Albert Pujols and later the 20th home run by Kole Calhoun in the second inning. David Fletcher came through in the third with an RBI-triple that scored Luis Rengifo, who had doubled earlier in the inning. That was followed by a two-run home run by who else, Mike Trout, his 30th of the season. Fletcher drove in another run in the bottom of the fourth inning with an RBI-single that scored Kole Calhoun.
Harvey was definitely not perfect as he allowed base runners in four of the six innings and had three double plays that counter-balanced Harvey’s three walks. Harvey’s luck and shutout would run out in the sixth as the Mariners Mallex Smith would lace a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly by J.P. Crawford to end the shutout. After a Daniel Vogelbach two-out single Harvey’ night was done,
The Mariners got even closer in the seventh with another run to cut the lead to 6-2, but Luis Garcia came in and shut the door to preserve the four-run cushion. In the bottom of the seventh Albert Pujols put the game on ice with a two-out three-run blast to left-center that scored Shohei Ohtani and Andrelton Simmons making it 9-2. Ty Buttrey and Trevor Cahill finished it off with two innings of scoreless relief and Matt Harvey was back in the win column for the first time since May 17th.
Although this game was not quite as magical as Friday night’s game it was still special, especially for Matt Harvey. If Tyler Skaggs were here he would still utter his now-famous catch phrase upon returning to the Angel locker room. We’re Nasty!!! Happy Birthday Tyler RIP#45.