Harvey 'honored' to start Orioles' home opener - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Harvey ‘honored’ to start Orioles’ home opener

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

NEW YORK—In his second start with the Orioles, Matt Harvey gets to pitch in the team’s home opener against the Boston Red Sox on Thursday at 3:05 p.m. Eduardo Rodriguez will start for Boston.

Harvey, whose first start with the Orioles came on April 3, threw 4 2/3 innings and allowed two runs in a game the Orioles won, 4-2.

It will be the first game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards with fans in attendance since September 2019. Harvey says there will be some jitters.

“In every game, you have butterflies to some degree,” Harvey said in a video conference call Wednesday. “It’s exciting. It’s a big league game. It’s a big league ballpark. That never gets old.

“It only intensifies when it’s the home opener. It’s exciting, and I’m honored to get the ball tomorrow.”

Oriole Park will be at 25 percent capacity, about 11,000 fans, on Thursday.

“Obviously, it’s our home park but, in general, being back in a major league ballpark with fans, it’s extremely exciting. I got to really get a good feel of it with about 16 of my family members at the game I pitched in Boston. I have some friends coming in tomorrow, and I have some former teammates coming in for my next start, so it’s exciting.

“It’s what major league baseball is all about, playing for the fans, playing at home, playing in your own city. We’re obviously extremely excited for the support and, hopefully, sooner than later, we can have a full crowd.”

Since Harvey left the New York Mets in 2018, he’s with his fifth organization — Cincinnati, the Los Angeles Angels, Oakland, Kansas City and the Orioles. He’s trying to feel at home in a new clubhouse in the age of Covid-19.

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“Being around the guys, being in the clubhouse, obviously this year is different, and last year was different,” Harvey said. “Being able to experience each city with guys who’ve played there for a couple of years. Hopefully, soon, pretty much all of us are going to get vaccinated and, hopefully, we’ll be able to do some normal hanging out with teammates — dinners and stuff like that, really get to experience the behind-the-scenes fun of major league baseball and being part of a team. It’s been missed.”

Harvey knows what’s expected of him as a starter.

“As a starting pitcher, you know what your job is,” Harvey said. “Whether you’re older, whether you’re young, whether you’re experienced or not, the goal of a starting pitcher is to get six, seven innings and not tax the bullpen. I think you learn that as a young age. You definitely learn that as more [of a] veteran.

“Those days where you can save the bullpen … it really helps everybody. It helps the whole team. … I haven’t in a while been a huge strikeout guy. I hope to get back to that at some point, whether it’s tomorrow or the near future. What we’ve been working on since spring training is pounding the zone, throwing strikes, trying to get early outs.

“I didn’t do a very good job of that in my last start. You’re going to have some of those games. The biggest thing is weak contact, early outs and being in the game as long as you can. That really saves the bullpen now, and it really saves them later in the season.”

The Red Sox get a second look at the 32-year-old right-hander.

“Doing your homework and going over the scouting report once, going back over what you previously did,” he said. “That way, you’re not running into throwing the same pitches to the same guys.

“You get to fix what you did wrong to certain hitters. You get to be continuously educated on what you’re trying to accomplish and learn from your mistakes and learn what the tendencies are from guys in the last week and what you can do to get them out.”

During spring training, pitchers weren’t permitted at games in which they weren’t scheduled to pitch. Now, Harvey has gotten a first-hand look at each of his fellow starters.

“I’ve been around them enough between starts to realize how much work they put in at such a young age,” Harvey said. “I definitely wish I had done that more when I was 23, 24, 25 years old.

“It might have been a different time, eight, nine years ago when guys didn’t prep as much as they do now, and there [wasn’t] as much science involved in baseball. Just watching what they do on a day-to-day basis is pretty incredible.

“The work they’re putting in in the weight room, the work they’re putting in in their bullpens is pretty incredible. It’s fun to watch. It’s fun to see them get better and better. I’m trying to keep up with them.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. dlgruber1

    April 7, 2021 at 5:03 pm

    I get his comments about the young guys putting in the work but I gotta say, as someone who grew up in the late 60’s watching pitchers regularly go well over 200 innings, sometimes even over 300, and seemingly never have arm trouble has me thinking those are the guys they need to be talking to about how to prepare for a long season .

    • CalsPals

      April 7, 2021 at 5:55 pm

      Totally agree…Old School all the way…go O’s…

    • BarstoolSleeper

      April 7, 2021 at 8:12 pm

      I see where the sentiment comes from but in the 60s there was no sports science, no guys throwing 102 mph, and baseball wasn’t a full time job. The guys today throw so much harder and with more power/torque. I totally get what you’re saying but at the same time, these guys today are bigger, faster and stronger and when their bodies break down, it’s often a more serious injury because of the way they play and prepare.

    • CalsPals

      April 7, 2021 at 8:42 pm

      All the science & Means can’t go 5 innings tonight…go O’s…

    • CalsPals

      April 7, 2021 at 8:54 pm

      Bob Feller, 40’s & 50’s regularly threw 95-100, found probably 9-10 guys in the 60’s that threw 95-99 regularly, not bad for their second jobs…go O’s…

      • geevee3

        April 7, 2021 at 11:13 pm

        Interested in your source for the speeds of pitches in the 60’s. Dan Litwhiler hadn’t invented the JUGS gun yet. How was the speed established?

    • dlgruber1

      April 8, 2021 at 12:18 am

      You’re correct, the JUGS gun had not been established, but it’s common knowledge that many of the hardest throwers ever to play the game were from early 1900’s. Walter Johnson, he of 417 wins and career 2.17 ERA and Christy Mathewson, he of 373 wins and career 2.12 ERA. This is what Ty Cobb had to say about Walter Johnson;
      “…The first time I faced him, I watched him take that easy windup. And then something went past me that made me flinch. The thing just hissed with danger. We couldn’t touch him… every one of us knew we’d met the most powerful arm ever turned loose in a ball park.” Say what you want about radar guns, I’ll take the word of the best hitter in baseball history,

    • CalsPals

      April 8, 2021 at 6:51 am

      Did a google search, Bob Fellers was actually done by the US Army, one was timed off the speedometer of a motorcycle, distance x some formula, it compared Feller & Nolan Ryan’s speeds, it was very interesting…go O’s…

    • CalsPals

      April 8, 2021 at 6:57 am

      Efastball.com…pretty cool…go O’s…

    • BarstoolSleeper

      April 8, 2021 at 7:18 am

      Saw an article from mlb.com in 2016 talking about velocity. From 2008-2015 the average mlb fastball went from 90mph to 91, curveball increased by nearly 3mph and sliders increased 2mph over that same time. That was my reference. I’m not saying a few guys back then couldn’t throw harder but it wasn’t the norm it was the exception. Check out the documentary “fastball” it’s pretty cool how the game and pitch itself has evolved over time. They referenced that motorcycle race in it CP.

  2. Hallbe62

    April 7, 2021 at 9:29 pm

    Watching tonight’s game live…….boy MOUNTCASTLE’s error in the 8th was just a LAZY, LOUSY effort.

    Poor effort Ryan. Can’t have those “lack of effort” mistakes and not have them cost you close games

    Ditto for Valdez getting to 1st base late in the same inning.

    These are “lack of effort” & “mental” mistakes. Can’t have them

    • CalsPals

      April 8, 2021 at 6:53 am

      Agree, it was hard to watch & seemed uncharacteristic of Mountcastles hustle…go O’s…

  3. Hallbe62

    April 7, 2021 at 10:35 pm

    Got out-hit by a large margin by the Yanks in this one. Tough to win a baseball game that way. Yet the Birds still found a way to put this one in the win column.

    Despite a costly mistake (lazy effort on very catchable flyball) by Mountcastle in the 8th.

    And again Despite lazy base running by Maikel Franco in the Top 10th (if he’s running hard and completely to and through the bag…he’s probably safe).

    A wins a WIN….I’ll take it. 4-2 and back home to Baltimore.

    P.S.   Mountcastle has yet to convince me that he’s an everyday big league LF’er. He still needs a lot of work there.

  4. Orial

    April 7, 2021 at 11:11 pm

    A seasoned veteran like Harvey,who’s seen all kinds of ups and downs, may just be the perfect pitcher for the situation(opening day). Hopefully he can give a solid 6 innings after tonight’s stressful bullpen game. Hays can’t get back soon enough because Mountcastle is a dreadful OFer. Why does it seem the baseball Gods are always working against the Orioles—gotta play an 11 inning night game before traveling for a day game the next day while Boston has a nice afternoon game the same day prior? And the Yankees normally play Weds afternoon games. Observation–is Rio quietly regaining 3B? Mr. Franco sure doesn’t like to bust it to first base does he?

    • CalsPals

      April 8, 2021 at 6:55 am

      Rio needs to grab this opportunity with two hands, may not get another chance…go O’s…

  5. willmiranda

    April 8, 2021 at 9:56 am

    Why weren’t pitchers allowed at games they weren’t scheduled to pitch? Another virus “protocol”?

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