In his fifth and final spring training start, Matt Harvey continued to enforce that he’s ready for the season to begin.
His only blemish against the Cardinals on Tuesday afternoon was a home run to Paul Dejong. Other than that, his start was pretty good giving up five hits over 5 1/3 innings for the Mets.
A positive sign that can prove Harvey is getting his groove back is his strikeout numbers, which have been very good his last two starts. He struck out five Cardinals hitters, including Tommy Pham twice.
In his previous start against the Marlins, he was doing even better in the strikeouts department. He recorded eight over five innings, including five consecutive to end his outing.
Yes, it’s only spring training, but it’s been a long time since Harvey’s had such good strikeout performances in a spring training game. In nine total spring training starts between 2016 and 2017, Harvey never recorded more than four strikeouts.
In those games, he combined for a 7.42 K/9 rate. He went on to reach a 7.77 K/9 total between the two seasons. With these two most recent games, Harvey is looking at an 8.1 K/9, which included strikeouts against Ronald Acuna, Freddie Freeman, and Giancarlo Stanton.
When you look at numbers beyond strikeouts, there’s nothing that really raises any red flags. He had one really bad start against the Yankees but it wasn’t his truly his fault. Stanton has always been a nuisance and you got pretty much what you would expect from the Yankees lineup.
Home runs were also an issue for Harvey in the past. However, you can’t really blame him for the ones he gave up this spring. The one to Stanton was pretty much expected and Dejong was up there along with Cody Bellinger and Aaron Judge last season in rookie power, hitting 25 home runs after being called up two months into the season.
Lastly, Harvey has been doing exceptionally well with walks when you compare his numbers to 2017. In each of his first four spring starts he walked one batter, with two in his fifth start. Six walks over 20 innings, or 2.7/9.
In each of his final four starts of 2017, he walked at least two batters. He didn’t go more than four innings in any of them. For the season, he walked 47 batters over 92 2/3 innings, or 4.6/9.
If this spring is any indicator when you compare it to past springs or the 2017 season, it looks like Harvey is ready for the comeback he’s been looking for since 2016, which should be good news for the Mets.