Daily Sports Picks: Matt Harvey Debuts for Cincinnati

May 11, 2018

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Oskeim Sports previews Friday’s MLB between Cincinnati and Los Angeles and recommends making a small investment on the Dodgers as one of its daily sports picks for May 11.

Matt Harvey will be making his debut for the Reds tonight after being acquired from the Mets in exchange for catcher Devin Mesoraco. After starting the 2013 All-Star game and finishing fourth in the National League Cy Young Award vote that season, Harvey has fallen on hard times. Harvey underwent Tommy John surgery following his breakout season and has never been able to recover his old form.

The sudden decline in skills can be attributed to an injury-riddled body that was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome subsequent to undergoing Tommy John surgery. Then came the stress injury in his shoulder.

Compared to 2015, Harvey’s average fastball is down approximately four miles per hour. In 2015, Harvey threw 89% of his fastballs at least 95 mph. So far this year, that rate is 1%. In short, the 29-year-old’s underlying peripherals have declined across the board.

Matt Harvey’s 2017 Campaign (92.2 IP; 19 Appearances; 18 Starts)

  • 6.70 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, 6.37 FIP, 5.39 xFIP & 5.44 SIERA
  • 6.51 K/9, 4.56 BB/9 & 2.04 HR/9

Harvey is 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in 21 innings of work this season, including posting an 8.18 ERA and 1.72 WHIP on the road and a 7.87 ERA and 1.75 WHIP in his last three outings.

The righty surrendered a .303/.355/.550 batting line (.906 OPS) in 2018. A subpar 5.68 FIP, together with 6.67 K/9 and 2.00 HR/9 rates provide further evidence for why the Mets designated Harvey for assignment prior to last week’s trade.

Compare the last two season’s figures to Harvey’s breakout 2013 campaign in which he finished with a 2.27 FIP, a 27.7% strikeout rate and an average fastball velocity of 95.8 mph, which was a remarkable 30 runs above average.

Harvey garnered 6.5 WAR in just 178.1 innings; Clayton Kershaw threw 175 innings that year and accrued 4.6 WAR. Harvey will be on a strict pitch count tonight, which is excellent news for Los Angeles bettors in light of Cincinnati’s woeful bullpen.

Cincinnati relievers enter tonight’s game having allowed 133 hits and issuing 66 walks across 143.7 innings of work. The same bullpen has yielded 45 earned runs on 88 hits and 43 walks in 92 2/3 innings at night.

Los Angeles right-hander Kenta Maeda toes the rubber with a 1.98 ERA and 1.31 WHIP in three home starts this season. Hs is overall ERA (4.02) is undermined by an unsustainable .366 BABIP. In fact, Maeda’s underlying peripherals are solid: 2.94 FIP, 3.04 xFIP, 11.78 K/9 and a 0.86 HR/9 rate.

Maeda now gets to face a Cincinnati squad that is 27-59 on the road, 16-35 during game 2 of a series, 9-27 versus right-handed starters and 14-37 in their last 51 games overall. The Reds have also lost nine of their last 12 games following a win.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles is 56-26 in this series, including 29-10 at home. The Dodgers are 10-3 in Maeda’s last thirteen home starts and 5-1 in Maeda’s last six outings against National League Central foes.

With Matt Harvey standing at 14-25 over the last two seasons (team trend), take the Dodgers to improve to 27-9 against N.L. Central opponents as one of Oskeim’s daily sports picks for Friday, May 11.

Oskeim’s Daily Sports Picks for Friday, May 11:

  • Los Angeles Dodgers (-188) over Cincinnati Reds
  • New York Mets (+144) over Philadelphia Phillies