After another poor start by Matt Harvey, the Angels have finally given up hope that Matt Harvey would return to the Dark Knight days. He walked five and struck out one against the Astros on July 17, got swinging strikes on just three of 92 pitches and none of his 52 fastballs to fall to 3-5 with a 7.09 ERA in 12 starts.
Harvey walked two batters with two outs and gave up a two-out double to Yordan Alvarez to make it 2-0. He was ahead in the count 1-2 to George Springer and gave up a solo home run. He also gave up and an RBI single to Josh Reddick and an RBI two-out double to Yuli Gurriel in the 3rd inning which made it 5-0. He later gave up a home run to Alex Bregman when he was also ahead in the count to him. That made it 6-0. Harvey settled down and pitched a scoreless 5th and 6th inning, but that wasn’t enough to convince the Angels that Harvey could remain on the team.
The Angels were encouraged with Harvey’s first start since being on the injured list and heading to AAA to work on his mechanics. On July 13 against the Seattle Mariners at home, he pitched 5.2 innings, gave up four hits, one earned run, while walking three and striking out three. But his start against the Astros at home sent those encouraging signs out the window.
Manager Brad Ausmus had this to say about the decision to let Harvey go: “The decision was made because we felt like it would increase our chance of winning games,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said after discussing the move with general manager Billy Eppler. “Matt was a very well-liked teammate, a guy that everyone pulled for, including me. But we’re in the business of winning baseball games. In talking to Billy, we just felt like this was the best move to make in order to help us win games.”
Harvey is the second Angel to be designated for assignment after the Halos committed a lot of money to three pitchers (Matt Harvey, Cody Allen, and Trevor Cahill) to expensive one-year contracts (Cody Allen was designated for assignment on June 15).
Los Angeles Times Sports beat writer Bill Shaikin noted this in a Twitter tweet: “Their three big winter FA pitcher signings; Harvey ($11 million) DFA, Cody Allen ($8.5 million) DFA, Trevor Cahill ($9 million) moved to the bullpen. That’s $28.5 million for basically no return.”
Angels General Manager Billy Eppler must be embarrassed by the performances of all his pitching acquisitions during the winter offseason prior to the 2019 season.
In case you’re wondering what has happened to Cody Allen since then, he got promoted to the Minnesota Twins AAA team (Rochester Red Wings) after doing okay in their AA system. Yesterday, he pitched his first game for Rochester and retired one batter on a strikeout, walked three and threw 25 pitches, 11 of them for strikes. Their third pitching acquisition, Trevor Cahill had been a disaster as well and had been rumored to be designated for assignment as well, but the Angels needed bullpen depth for the time being. The good news is that Cahill has been serviceable as a mop-up man recently. In his last three appearances, Cahill has pitched five innings and hasn’t given up an earned run.
The Halos called up right-hander Jaime Barria from Triple-A Salt Lake City before the series opener against the Mariners on Friday and hoped he would be ready for a larger role. His first start since Harvey got designated for an assignment wasn’t a good one, to say the least. He pitched 3.2 innings, gave up nine hits, 10 earned runs, walked four and struck out four. Yet the Angels have no choice but to keep him in the rotation now since the Angels don’t have Tyler Skaggs, Matt Harvey, or Trevor Cahill in the rotation. The Halos have a rotation that is made up of Andrew Heaney, Griffin Canning, Félix Peña, Jaime Barria, and possibly Jose Suarez if they bring him back up. It’s an unstable rotation all around and will probably not get the Angels back to to the playoffs this season.
Billy Eppler will have to deal for two legitimate starters in the offseason to snap the Angels five-year playoff drought (and possibly six) if a miracle doesn’t happen this season.
Featured Image: Associated Press