Harvey strong again as Reds stifle Cardinals

Righty allows one run, strikes out five in five-plus innings in series opener

July 13th, 2018

ST. LOUIS -- Chip and Joanna Gaines are not listed among the club's front office members, but the Reds were ready to take on a fixer upper when trading for a then-struggling starting pitcher Matt Harvey on May 8. If and when Harvey is flipped ahead of the Trade Deadline, Cincinnati stands to get a nice appreciation in value.
Harvey turned in another solid performance during the Reds' 9-1 victory over the Cardinals on Friday at Busch Stadium. Aided by 's three hits and three RBIs and later supported with a five-run seventh inning, Harvey delivered five innings with one earned run, four hits and two walks allowed while he struck out five.
"He was really good," said Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman, whose club is a National League best 20-9 since June 10. "It was a little bit of a tough night to pitch, hot and muggy. But he's a pro. He keeps going out there and getting better and better. We're lucky to have him. It was a great move by our front office to bring him in here."
When Harvey was acquired from the Mets for catcher , he had an 0-2 record and 7.00 ERA in eight games. The final four games of his New York tenure came after he was demoted to the bullpen and before he was designated for assignment amid friction with the team. Since the trade, Harvey is 5-3 with a 3.64 ERA and he is 4-0 with a 1.86 ERA over his last five starts. The right-hander has not given up a home run since June 8, also vs. St. Louis.
Following a few seasons of injuries, Harvey's velocity has been sound for the Reds. According to Statcast™, his fastball on Friday averaged 94.7 mph and topped out at 96.9 mph.
"Just being out there and getting into a five-day rotation of bullpens and workouts, " Harvey said. "The last couple of years it's been an uphill battle. Now that I'm healthy, throwing bullpens every second or third day and getting my workouts in, instead of worrying about being healthy in a normal rotation."

A free agent at season's end, Harvey has postseason experience and now he has his health again. Although the Reds are 36-25 since Harvey came aboard and are one of baseball's hottest teams, the postseason remains unlikely for the fifth-place club. Contenders like the Yankees, Nationals, Phillies and perhaps the Brewers are among those in need of starters. The Reds, who would likely seek prospects in return, have Homer Bailey back to starting games on a rehab assignment in Triple-A Louisville, and he could reclaim the spot that Harvey potentially vacates. Bailey started on Friday and struck out 10 while allowing four runs over six innings.
"I'm not talking about any of that stuff," Harvey said of trade rumors. "It's not my decision. It's out of my control. The only thing I can do is go out and help this team win. I love these guys. They've been awesome ever since I came over here. I really enjoyed that."
Winker gave the Reds a 2-0 lead against Cardinals starter on a two-out, two-run double to left field in the first inning. Following a one-out infield hit, Harvey gave up back-to-back two-out singles -- including a rolling single to center field that scored . He needed 28 pitches to get through the inning and then endured some two-out trouble in the second inning with a hit and a walk.

Beginning with his strikeout of DeJong that got him out of the second inning, Harvey retired 10 in a row.
"It looks like his stuff is closer to what we've seen in the past," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "A little more juice and has the movement. The cutter-slider combo is working real well."
In the top of the sixth inning, Harvey batted and drew a walk. He had to hustle from first base to third base on 's double, which might have affected him going back out to pitch. He was lifted aftergiving up a four-pitch walk to to begin the sixth, finishing with 94 pitches.

"He wasn't going to go much further than that anyway," Riggleman said.
Harvey understood the move, but was disappointed in himself for not getting deeper into the game.
"You look and only going five innings in a game like this is tough," Harvey said. "The first two innings were kind of tough. The pitch count got up. That's the only thing I'm frustrated with. I was able to settle in nice and execute the pitches better."
Scooter Gennett gave Cincinnati a 3-1 lead with a leadoff homer in the third inning. But the game was blown open with a five-run seventh inning as the Reds batted around. It included the first hit and homer as a Red for pinch-hitter , a three-run shot to left field. Herrera started in a 0-2 count vs. reliever but worked an 11-pitch at-bat. It was his first big league hit since Sept. 27, 2015, for the Mets vs. the Reds.

"It was amazing," Herrera said. "I was trying to do my job. I was focused 100 percent on trying to take a good swing."
The game was likely out of reach for St. Louis in the seventh inning, but that didn't stop Reds center fielder from making a spectacular play to rob Matt Carpenter of a home run. With two outs, Carpenter lifted an first pitch to the wall where Hamilton was able to climb and bring the ball back from beyond the fence.

"I've never seen a catch like that before, live. I think that has to be one of the greatest catches I have seen in my life," Garrett said.
"There's something about him. He's going to go out and throw strikes. He's going to make sure he throws as many pitches as he can. I haven't played with him that much, but I love being around him. I love the way he pitches. I'm happy for him, especially after New York and the way he's coming around now. It's great to see." -- Hamilton, on Harvey
Winless since June 22 with three no-decisions, will seek to enter the All-Star break on a positive note when the Reds face the Cardinals on Saturday at 4:15 p.m ET. Cincinnati has won two of those three starts, but in Sunday's 6-4 loss to the Cubs in 10 innings, the right-hander labored for four innings and 83 pitches with three earned runs and six hits. is the scheduled starter for St. Louis.