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19 Changeups!

Posted By Howard Megdal On August 1, 2012 @ 10:15 am In Game wrap-up | Comments Disabled

There was a lot to like in last night’s performance by Matt Harvey.
For one thing, the second performance helps to reinforce the non-fluke nature of the debut, and vice versa. It’s a long way from these two starts to fully establishing himself in the major leagues. But no one can establish himself in two starts; it is the length of effective pitching itself that does so. These two starts are about as strong a beginning as a pitcher can have toward doing that.
One thing that got discussed widely was Harvey’s use of his changeup last night. It is his fourth-best pitch, but he threw it often: 19 times in all, particularly early. He threw it, without hesitation, even behind in the count.
I’m thrilled.
Look, the major downside to bringing up Matt Harvey now was essentially that facing major league hitters, he’d rely on what he already knew, his fastball/slider combo, and shy away from working on the curve and change. With the two pitches, Harvey is a solid major league pitcher. With three or four, he can be great.
So using the changeup as if this were a spring training game works for me. Perhaps you don’t remember, but the Mets tried everything to get Mike Pelfrey to add another pitch. Whether he could have done so by more aggressively using them is unknown, because of how, at the slightest sign of trouble, he reverted to that same sinking fastball.
Harvey isn’t afraid to try and get better. And his ability to do so isn’t hampered by facing major league hitters as a result.
And by the way, in the midst of a work-in-progress game that was his second start in the major leagues, he allowed two earned runs over six innings, striking out seven.
19 changeups? I’ll take it.

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