DENVER — Matt Harvey will try to continue moving forward with the Cincinnati Reds when he makes his fourth start for them Sunday against the Colorado Rockies in the rubber game of the series.
Harvey is 1-2 with a 5.49 ERA overall. He went 0-2 with a 7.00 ERA in eight games (four starts) with the New York Mets and is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in three starts for the Reds. German Marquez will oppose Harvey. He is coming off his best start of the season and is 3-5 with a 4.62 ERA.
Marquez pitched a season-high seven innings Monday while winning at Los Angeles. He held the Dodgers to one run on two hits with two walks and five strikeouts in Colorado’s 2-1 victory. In that 94-pitch outing that included 62 strikes, Marquez retired the side in order in the first on 13 pitches, which was notable considering his first-inning woes this season.
Entering that start, Marquez had a 13.00 ERA in the first inning in his previous nine starts, and opposing hitters had hit .390 (16-for-41) with one double, one triple and four home runs in the first inning in those games.
Before shutting down the Dodgers in the first, Marquez had been scored upon in the first inning in five straight starts, yielding a total of nine runs and 11 hits in the firs… Marquez said when he took the mound against the Dodgers, he was determined to change that pattern.
“(In) my mind is ‘attack, attack, attack,’ ” Marquez said. “And my game tempo was pretty good. My last five games, the first inning from the beginning of the game was like slow. I didn’t have good command. And I wasn’t aggressive.”
The Rockies are 5-5 in games started by Marquez, who has never faced the Reds. The teams have exchanged one-run victories, the Rockies winning 5-4 on Friday and the Reds escaping a bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the ninth Saturday without allowing any runs to win 6-5. It was the fourth consecutive one-run game for the Reds, who are 5-11 in such contests and 1-4 on the road. The Rockies are 9-5 in one-run games and 2-3 at home.
The Reds acquired Harvey in a May 4 trade that sent catcher Devin Mesoraco to the Mets after they designated Harvey for assignment. Unhappy at being removed from the Mets’ rotation, Harvey then declined to go to the minor leagues, leading to the trade.
In his last start Tuesday against Pittsburgh, Harvey, who received no-decisions in his first two starts with the Reds, held the Pirates to three hits and one run in six innings and earned his first win of the season.
“I think there were times this year when I didn’t think I was going to get another win in the big leagues,” Harvey told reporters after that 93-pitch outing. “It was good to get one on the board.”
The Reds have won the three games started by Harvey, who has two walks, 12 strikeouts and 11 hits allowed in 14 innings in those games. Harvey threw 55 pitches in four innings in his Reds debut May 11. He again worked four innings May 16 and was removed with his pitch count up to 77 after giving up seven hits and three runs at San Francisco. Harvey is 2-1, 1.88 in four career starts against the Rockies and 0-1, 7.94 in one start at Coors Field in May 2016.
“All three outings, he was in a little bit of trouble early,” Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said, adding that the third and fourth innings in Harvey’s two four-inning outings “were much better” than the first two innings. Harvey left the bases loaded and escaped without giving up a run in a 30-pitch first against the Pirates but retired the final eight Pittsburgh batters he faced in his last outing.
“We’re at a point now where we’re not looking at number of pitches and just put him out there and handle him like anybody else on the staff. And hopefully, we get past this thing where the first couple innings have been a little rough.”