- Matt Harvey could be pitching his last game in a Reds uniform on Saturday.
- Since being moved to the Reds, Harvey has been more consistent than the end of his tenure with the Mets.
- Vincent Velasquez has pitched much better on the road than at home this season.
Well, the main line of thinking in last night’s Blue Jays-White Sox under 9 wager turned out accurate, as Marcus Stroman did his thing, but Reynaldo Lopez was way off and doomed our bet from the beginning. Let’s just set our sights on the last Saturday of July.
Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 67-44-3, +18.4 units
Yesterday’s Result: Blue Jays-White Sox Under 9, Stroman vs. Lopez (loss)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit
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Philadelphia Phillies at Cincinnati Reds | O/U: 9.5
6:40 p.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Vincent Velasquez (7-8, 4.05 ERA) vs. Matt Harvey (5-6, 5.21 ERA)
Could this already be the last ‘Harvey Day’ at Great American Ball Park? It’s looking more likely than not considering all the trade rumors circulating around the 2010 first-round draft pick. Most recently, he’s been closely attached to the Brewers.
That presents an interesting variable for this affair, with one of the starting hurlers entering what could be his last start with his current team. I think it can be beneficial in helping Harvey churn out a solid performance, as he may be looser and more relaxed than usual — realizing that no matter where he ends up, it will be with a contender and still in his desired role as a starting pitcher.
Funny enough, Harvey will be taking on the Phillies, the club he stifled in his first start of the year that had Mets fans thinking the former All-Star had finally be returned to form. Instead, after three starts and a handful of relief appearances, Harvey was jettisoned out of Flushing.
To his credit, the seven-year veteran has found success in Cincinnati. In nine of his 13 starts with the Reds, Harvey has surrendered three runs or fewer, and before his last outing — in which he was whacked for eight runs, including four homers — the 29-year-old had logged at least five frames in 10 consecutive assignments. Furthermore, he’s held opponents to a .262 batting average as a member of the Redlegs, his lowest such mark since 2015, which was his last standout campaign.
Overall, Harvey actually has also been effective when working at Great American Ball Park, going 5-1 with a 4.10 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 38/7 K/BB ratio in seven career starts there, spanning 41.2 innings. That’s where he’ll be this evening, and based on how badly he fared in his last start, I think there will be a mental edge that boosts him to avoid ending his Reds tenure on a down note. Remember, he’s trying to maintain his rotation gig wherever he ends up.
The bigger constant here, however, is Harvey’s counterpart tonight, Velasquez, who strolls into this contest on an excellent hot streak. The former Astros farmhand has amassed 14 consecutive innings without allowing a run, over which he’s also scattered just eight baserunners (five hits, three walks). Clearly, Velasquez is in a nice groove.
We also may appreciate the fact that the 26-year-old is pitching on the road here, considering he’s typically excelled away from Citizens Bank Park. In fact, last season, Velasquez notched an ERA that was more than two full runs better in his away starts (4.01) compared to those at home (6.10). This year, that trend has checked in once again, with Velasquez sporting a 2.42 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and .221 BAA on the road, severely besting the 5.31 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and .227 BAA he’s registered in Philadelphia.
Slowly but surely, Velasquez has emerged as one of the top starters on this Phillies pitching staff. He’s exhibited this potential for a while now, and putting up 10.38 K/9 and 3.25 BB/9 (which is low for him) has paved the way for him to have a career year. Look for the right-hander to keep rolling along, and if Harvey cares about ending his tenure in a Cincinnati on a high note as I suspect he does, this under will look promising.
Play: Under 9.5 (-110)