59

Has Matt Harvey made himself into a quality trade target?

“It’s a good sign that I can go out and not feel great and kind of be out of whack and still limit damage,” Harvey said. “But today was definitely a struggle and I’m happy to get through it.”

It’s no small point. By the end of Harveys’ tenure with the New York Mets, those small struggles tended to turn into raging dumpster fires. When you look at where Harvey was by the time the Mets designated him for assignment back in May, cheap nfl nike jerseys free shipping routine outings such as the one Saturday have to be looked at as positive data points.

For one thing, it was the fourth straight outing in which Harvey pitched into at least the sixth inning and he hasn’t given up more than three runs in any of his past five outings. Over his 11 starts for the Reds, Harvey is 4-3 with a 3.79 ERA. He has struck out 6.7 batters per nine innings and has whiffed over three batters for every one he has walked. From a results standpoint, Saturday’s performance was an ebb in his momentum. But only an ebb.

“He was laboring a little bit,” Reds manager Jim Riggleman said. “But he made the necessary pitches to minimize the damage. Kept that one inning to two runs. He put us right where we wanted to be.”

Under the hood, things look even more promising for Harvey’s revival than his overall Cincinnati stat line. First, there’s those past five outings: He’s 3-1 and would be 4-1 if not for the Reds’ bullpen meltdown Saturday. His ERA is 2.48. The strikeout rate is still more of that of a finesse pitcher (6.2), but his strikeouts-to-walks ratio is up to four and he hasn’t given up a home run in a month. The trend is good.59

“I do think that his slider has been better as the season has gone along, from the time that he joined us,” Riggleman said. “And as good as he’s throwing the ball, he’s more pitching now and really using the slider to get the strikeout. He wasn’t striking people out that first month.”

The results are solid, to be sure. No, they aren’t Harvey circa 2013, when he struck out more than a batter per inning and had the lowest home run rate in the National League. That guy had Tommy John surgery in 2014 and a procedure for thoracic outlet syndrome in 2016. This guy, though, is at least revving up his stuff to the point where we can believe he used to be the other guy, the one with the catchy superhero nickname.

“I am healthy,” Harvey said. “Definitely. Feeling healthy. I’m two years out from surgery now, so it’s been a lot of work to get to where I am now, but everything feels good.”

Much of Harvey’s velocity is back and, seemingly, it’s not going anywhere. His fastball has been sitting at 93-94 mph for each of these past five starts, and in each of them he has topped out at over 96. The bite on his slider is better — his six highest scores for average break length have come over his past six starts. As a result, Harvey’s chase rates are up, he’s getting more swinging strikes overall, he has stayed in the zone more consistently and stayed far more efficient with his pitch counts.cheap new nike nfl jerseys

“I’ve been doing that for five or six starts,” Harvey said when asked about his improved stuff. “That’s what happens when you feel good and everything is coming out fine.”