Expectations weren’t high last summer when, in search of pitching help, the KC Royals signed former Mets star Matt Harvey to a minor league contract.
The move came less than a week into the shortened 2020 season and fit the club’s “reclamation project” mold perfectly—since infamously convincing New York manager Terry Collins to let him pitch the ninth inning of the 2015 World Series’ fifth game against KC, a decision that set the table for the title Kansas City won three frames later, Harvey hadn’t been Harvey. Fighting injuries at times, he went 19-31 with a 5.65 ERA (74 ERA+) in 75 starts for the Mets, Reds, and Angels. The numbers contrasted starkly with the 25-18, 2.53 recorded he put together from 2012-2015.
Predictably, the Royals’ gamble on Harvey didn’t pay off. After working three weeks at the club’s Alternate Training Site, Harvey made three straight bad starts for Kansas City—he gave up three runs in three innings against Cincinnati, four runs in 2.2 against the Cardinals, and five in just 1.1 against Cleveland. His 0-2, 15.42 ERA forced him to the bullpen where he pitched three times, surrendering two runs and seven hits in 2.1 innings; he also started once more, and was 0-3, 11.57 when a lat strain ended his season in mid-September.
The KC Royals wisely didn’t re-sign Harvey for 2020. He caught on with Baltimore, though, then came back to haunt Kansas City July 18. After finding himself on the losing end of eight straight decisions, Harvey stifled his former teammates with a scoreless, three-hit, six-inning performance that improved his record to 4-10. The Royals seemed to be his cure—giving up not a single run in 18.1 innings, Harvey won his next three starts to finish July 3-1, 2.45.
But as he prepares to face Kansas City tonight, things aren’t going as well for him.
Are the conditions right for the KC Royals to get some revenge tonight?
Harvey simply embarrassed Kansas City July 18. He’d last won a game May 1 and had been battered for seven runs once, six twice, and five in two other starts before tossing those six scoreless frames against KC. Hunter Dozier clipped him for two singles and Nicky Lopez for one; otherwise, Harvey walked just one and struck out two.
But despite that win being the first of four straight for Harvey, his pitching is once again inferior, making revenge a realistic goal for the Royals tonight.
Harvey is 0-4, including four losses in a row, with a 6.52 ERA in six starts since beating the Royals. Opponents hit .280 with seven home runs against him in that span, and he’s lasted six innings only once.
The former Royal is on a slide. Kansas City probably won’t get a better chance to get even.
Game time for tonight’s third game of the Royals’ four-contest series with Baltimore is set for 6:05 p.m. CDT. Harvey (6-14, 6.28) is slated to face Kansas City’s Mike Minor (8-12, 5.25).