Harvey struggled early in double-A Binghamton, he is doing the same in triple-A.
Bisons' manager Wally Backman on Matt Harvey's outing on Sunday:
He was very good for the first three innings. Got himself in trouble in the fourth with two walks and just kept trying to pound the strike zone harder and harder and harder. It's a learning process for him. We've talked about it where sometimes you have to be able to take yourself off the mound and be able to go a little softer. When the going gets tough, a lot of times you go soft. ... He was elevating the fastball. I watched him do it the first four or five starts in AA last year where he'd get in trouble and then elevate the fastball just trying too hard - overtrying - and not getting back to the way he pitched for those first three innings. Hopefully, it's a good learning process for him.Backman makes a couple of good points here.
1. Harvey was fine through the first three innings and then fell apart in the fourth when he issued a pair of walks to begin the inning.
Through 3 IP: 2 H, 0 R, BB, 2 K
In the fourth: .2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 2 2B, WP, E (Raul Reyes)
2. He really did struggle through his first five starts in AA. I made this point a week ago. Through his first five starts for Binghamton he had a 7.15 ERA and a .330 opponents' batting average, but turned it around in his final seven starts (2.92 ERA and a .201 opponents' batting average) with similar walk and strikeout rates. (I'm often blown away just how baseball people remember the game. Here Backman, speaking without notes, after a Buffalo Bisons' walk-off victory in 2012, was on the money with the number of starts in which Harvey struggled at the beginning of his AA tenure in 2011.)
So, the next step for the 23-year-old Harvey will be throwing strikes with his secondary stuff early in counts to keep AAA hitters off his fastball and of course, throwing better strikes with his fastball. He still has his plus fastball, and he's shown plus movement on some of his breaking balls. It's all about command for Harvey.
If his ERA is pushing eight in June, sure worry. But in April? Naw.