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Harvey allows 4 homers in 'embarrassing' outing

Right-hander on his performance: 'One of my worst starts ever'
@RhettBollinger
May 23, 2019

ANAHEIM -- Any momentum Matt Harvey had built over his previous five starts was halted in a big way on Thursday, as the Angels right-hander turned in one of the worst starts of his career in a 16-7 drubbing by the Twins in a makeup game at Angel Stadium. Harvey,

ANAHEIM -- Any momentum Matt Harvey had built over his previous five starts was halted in a big way on Thursday, as the Angels right-hander turned in one of the worst starts of his career in a 16-7 drubbing by the Twins in a makeup game at Angel Stadium.

Harvey, who had posted a 4.05 ERA over his last five outings entering Thursday, was hit hard, allowing eight runs on seven hits and one walk over 2 2/3 innings to extend the Angels’ losing streak to four games. He allowed six runs in the second inning, and gave up four homers in a start for just the second time in his career, with the other occurring on July 22, 2018, against the Pirates while with the Reds.

“It's probably one of my worst innings ever, one of my worst starts ever,” Harvey said. “It's frustrating. There's a lot that this team and this organization has wanted me to do, and I just haven't been able to do that. Especially today, that was pretty embarrassing for me. It was a rough one."

Box score

Harvey, signed to a one-year deal worth $11 million in the offseason, allowed 14 balls to put in play, and nine of those were hit with an exit velocity of 95 mph or harder, according to Statcast. He allowed a combined 1,732 feet worth of homers, averaging 433 feet per blast. It caused his ERA to rise to 7.50 in 10 starts this season.

"I think the expectations are probably more on my end than anything,” Harvey said. “I'm very hard on myself. Obviously, I want to do everything I can to help this team win. Right now, I'm just not doing that. I have to figure it out."

Harvey's ERA is the worst mark in the American League, and he only trails the D-backs’ Zack Godley (7.90) among all pitchers with at least 40 innings thrown. But Angels manager Brad Ausmus said they haven’t considered removing him from the rotation just yet.

“There's some concern, for sure,” Ausmus said. “Pitching is a big part of winning baseball games and Harv is big part of our pitching staff. We need guys to pitch well to win games. And when they don't pitch well, we generally lose them. So it's a concern."

It started innocently enough for Harvey with a perfect first inning, but it got ugly from there with a six-run second inning by Minnesota. The first run came after shortstop Zack Cozart was caught off guard on a shallow popup to left, as Eddie Rosario tagged up on the play and scored easily.

Jonathan Schoop then launched the first blast of the afternoon on a two-run shot that left his bat at 110.5 mph and traveled a projected 467 feet according to Statcast. Jorge Polanco added a two-run homer on an 0-2 curveball from Harvey that had an exit velocity of 98.8 mph.

Harvey came back out for the third but it was more of the same, as he gave up a solo shot to C.J. Cron and another one to Miguel Sano before being pulled with two outs. Reliever Taylor Cole came in and kept the Twins scoreless for 2 1/3 innings.

"It’s tough going out there and getting your butt kicked like that," Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy said of Harvey. "Behind the plate, I want more than anything for him to get through it and be successful. He’s got it in him. He’s got the talent and ability. I think he’ll find it soon."

Noe Ramirez wasn’t as fortunate as Cole, as he allowed the home run parade from the Twins to keep rolling. He served up two homers in the seventh on back-to-back blasts from Sano and Schoop -- their second homers of the day. Right-hander Cody Allen then came in and gave up a two-run shot to Max Kepler, before giving up another on a solo blast to Rosario in the eighth.

The eight homers allowed by Angels pitching matched a franchise record and was the first time they've given up that many since June 30, 2005, when they allowed eight in a loss to the Rangers. Seven of the eight homers from the Twins went a projected 400 feet, which is the most by one team in a game since Statcast was introduced in 2015.

"All day long, not just Harv, the long balls were killing us," Ausmus said. "They came out swinging. It's just one of those days. You're going to have days like this over the course of 162 games.”

With the game in hand for Minnesota, the Angels employed two-way player Jared Walsh as a reliever for the first time this season, and he gave up a run on two hits in the ninth inning. The left-handed Walsh had previously made three starts at first base, going 3-for-9 with a walk.

"It was pretty exciting but it was a tough loss today, though,” Walsh said. “It's something I was looking forward to for a long time, but it was also kind of a tough day. We didn't play our best ball."

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.