Matt Harvey had perhaps the worst start of his career on Thursday, allowing nine runs – six earned – in 2 and 2/3 innings in a 9-1 loss to the Nationals. Harvey is now 3-6 with a 5.77 ERA and 1.66 WHIP on the season and is 1-3 with a 7.20 ERA in May.
What’s been the issue for the former All-Star?
Well, quite simply, he’s allowing too many hits. In fact, Harvey has allowed 65 hits in 48 and 1/3 innings.
That’s a lot of hits.
“When you look at it, he’s got 17 more hits than innings,” former MLB pitcher Carl Pavano said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “He’s given up a ton of hits. His walks aren’t bad for 50 innings, his strikeouts are almost a strikeout an inning, he has a good defense around him and his home runs aren’t up. So a lot of times, it’s quality of pitches. When I see him, a lot of the hits are in the middle of the zone and up and a lot of breaking balls. I think sometimes guys, when they start getting in trouble, they stop trusting their fast ball. They start going to their breaking pitches, then they lose their command of their fast ball. The command of your fast ball is everything. Everything comes off that. When you start using your delivery and you start tricking guys and you get confidence in pitching, you can see it. But sometimes you’re losing your deception and your angles – it’s not easy. But it’s a big surprise. (Three) years ago, he started the All-Star Game. So I think he’s in a spot where he’s got to battle. There’s no doubt about it.”
Pavano, who played for the Yankees for three seasons, was asked if New York is catching up to the 27-year-old Harvey, a Connecticut native who played college ball at North Carolina.
“It certainly could,” Pavano said. “I think there’s a lot of things (at play). I wouldn’t say he’s had a cakewalk form the beginning. Everything he did was in the paper, so I think he had to look over this shoulder a little bit. So I don’t know if this is a big surprise, the attention he’s getting from this. But last year, coming off Tommy John, he threw a bunch of innings last year – probably 30 or 40 more than they would have liked. Who knows if that’s caught up to him a little bit? Sometimes that just makes your stuff not that sharp. I’m not going to make excuses for the guy, but there are plenty of possibilities, along with (playing in) New York. But I like to think the guy’s been there long enough, and this might be the first (year that his) performance hasn’t been that good. He’s got sub-3.00 ERAs the (in three) of the four years he’s been there. I don’t think he’s wearing himself out or not taking care of himself. I think he’s definitely on top of all that. But he’s a young man. They’re going to go through these things. You know how it is. Every year you got to prove yourself. Every year you learn something.”
Switching gears a bit, Pavano was asked a Trout-versus Harper question. Specifically, which hitter would he rather face with the game on the line?
“I would go with the righty just because I felt like Harper is a guy that, for me, I would try to get in on, even though he’s got great bat speed,” Pavano said. “The lefties, they hit a little better off me because I didn’t have as many weapons. I couldn’t use my slider as much. So I would go with Trout, but they’re both monsters. What they’ve done at such a young age, the consistency, just everything – it’s such a lift for Major League Baseball in general to have these kids so successful. (They’re) at the top of their game. It’s pick your poison with either of them, but that would be my process – righty/lefty and what I got for them.”