CINCINNATI -- It was already determined that Tuesday would be Matt Harvey's final start for the Reds in 2018. With 155 innings pitched following a couple of injury-filled seasons, that was deemed enough. Now the question turns to whether or not the pending free agent Harvey will return to Cincinnati.Harvey
CINCINNATI -- It was already determined that Tuesday would be Matt Harvey's final start for the Reds in 2018. With 155 innings pitched following a couple of injury-filled seasons, that was deemed enough. Now the question turns to whether or not the pending free agent Harvey will return to Cincinnati.
Harvey worked five innings during a 4-3 Reds loss to the Royals at Great American Ball Park decided on Hunter Dozier's leadoff homer in the ninth inning against Raisel Iglesias. In a no-decision, Harvey allowed three earned runs, six hits and no walks with six strikeouts, and he might have pitched longer had it not been for a 51-minute rain delay during the bottom of the third inning. The game followed his previous poor outing vs. the Marlins, where he gave up seven earned runs over 5 1/3 innings.
"It's tough, that's definitely the longest I've waited," Harvey said. "But ... I think the toughest part was the first three innings, having everything pretty sharp and having things come out good, and then coming out in the fourth inning and things just weren't as sharp,"
The top of the second inning opened with a Salvador Perez single and Ryan O'Hearn's ground-rule double. With one out, second baseman Scooter Gennett nicely stopped a Brian Goodwin grounder up the middle, but he had no play as Perez scored. Following the rain delay in the third inning, Harvey gave up a Perez single and two-run homer to right field by O'Hearn on a 0-1 hanging breaking ball for a 3-0 Royals lead.
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"I thought Matt was all right," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "We don't make excuses for home runs, but that was a Great American home run. O'Hearn's showed good power, to his credit. He's in Kansas City, where it's tough to hit them. That one is one that barely got out of there, and it was worth two runs."
Harvey didn't blame the ballpark, but rather himself for making a bad pitch.
"It was a curveball that just kind of laid in there. I went back and watched the video -- it was just lazy, right down the middle," he said. "A left-handed hitter is going to put some damage on it."
Thus closed the book on Harvey's season. Overall in 32 games, including 28 starts for the Reds and Mets, Harvey is 7-9 with a 4.94 ERA, but he had his highest innings and starts totals since his breakout 2015 season for New York. Arm injuries along with tabloid turbulence contributed to the decline of his performance and image with the Mets, but there is little doubt that his market value has risen after his May 8 trade to Cincinnati for Devin Mesoraco.
Since the deal, Harvey is 7-7 with a 4.50 ERA after he was 0-2 with a 7.00 ERA for the Mets. But he's had several impressive stretches -- including a 2.88 ERA over seven starts from Aug. 11-Sept. 14. He's also improved his fastball velocity as the season wore on. According to Statcast™ on Tuesday, it averaged 94 mph and topped out at 96 mph.
Did Harvey get what he wanted out of his time in Cincinnati?
"I didn't have any goals. I really wanted to pitch every fifth day and start, and I was able to do that," Harvey said. "You could say I hit my goal of not missing a start and being healthy for the rest of the year. If you were going to tell me that in May, after what had happened and how things were going, I would have told you, you were crazy. Getting to that point, making every start, getting to 150-160 innings is pretty solid."
Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams said before the game that the club was willing to spend considerably more this offseason to improve its rotation. It's unknown what kind of market Harvey will have this winter, and Williams was noncommittal about whether the right-hander, who turns 30 in March, would fit into the team's plans.
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"We definitely will stack Matt up against the available options," Williams said. "The fact that he's been here and we've seen how he interacts with our coaches and our players will certainly work in his favor. Everybody's been favorably impressed. And we know that pitching is a priority going forward. All our pro scouting staff is in town and we are currently discussing every free agent player, starting with pitching. We'll also be talking about trade targets. There's a lot of possibilities."
Overall, Harvey enjoyed his time with the Reds and was open to returning.
"Absolutely. There's only one team out there I would not sign with. That's about it," Harvey said, referring to the Mets. "[The Reds] brought me here and they gave me the ball every fifth day. So it was something I'm very happy about and taking into consideration, and we'll see what happens moving forward."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Herrera's pinch-hit homer: The Reds didn't get on the scoreboard until Dilson Herrera pinch-hit for Harvey with two outs in the bottom of the fifth and slugged a two-run homer to right-center field against reliever Brian Flynn. It was Herrera's career-best third pinch-hit homer of the season, and the club's ninth pinch-hit homer.
Missed chances: It was a 3-3 game in the bottom of the eighth inning when the Reds had a big chance to take the game after having the bases loaded with no outs against reliever Kevin McCarthy. On a 3-0 count and with the infield playing shallow, Eugenio Suarez sharply grounded to shortstop Raul Mondesi for a fielder's choice force out at the plate. McCarthy struck out Gennett before Ervin ended the inning grounding to third base for another fielder's choice out. The bases were loaded again in the ninth with two outs when Joey Votto grounded out to second base to end the game.
HE SAID IT
"That happens. He left one there, and he got him." -- Riggleman, on Iglesias throwing a 1-0 fastball over the middle of the plate to Dozier for the game-deciding homer
Taking a career-high 11-inning scoreless streak with him into Wednesday's game at Great American Ball Park, former Royals prospect Cody Reed will pitch against his old organization at 6:40 p.m. ET. Reed worked six scoreless innings on Thursday in a 4-2 win over the Marlins. Heath Fillmeyer is scheduled to start for Kansas City.
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.