Matt Harvey's Walk Rate Will Haunt Him Vs. Cubs

Mark Lathrop

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 1:06 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jun. 14, 2017 1:06 PM UTC

Matt Harvey has struggled all year for the Mets, and now faces a good lineup in the visiting Cubs on Wednesday night. Our MLB handicapper does a deep dive into his struggles and decides on a side as he makes his pick.

2017 MLB Record: 102-91-6 (+2.37 Units, 1.03% ROI)

Chicago Cubs At New York Mets

New York Mets starter Matt Harvey continues to try to figure things out Wednesday night against the visiting Cubs. It might be a soft landing for Harvey as the Chicago lineup is only hitting .225 off of righty starters this year. That simple statistic and the fact that this is at home iis why I am not surprised to see the Mets as +100 on the moneyline at opening and not steeper underdogs. The total currently sits at 9, with a shade towards the 'under' at -120 at BetOnline.

A recent article about Harvey has identified one of the sources of his recent struggles as his fastball. Not only has the velocity dropped on it by a tick or two, but pitchers stopped missing it. The swinging strike rate on Harvey’s fastball has dropped from 10% to just 5%. Actually, identifying just one source of struggles out of the many is the real challenge for Harvey, as he’s gone completely off the rails this year. I will throw out the shortened 2016 season in this analysis. From 2015, Harvey’s K/9 rate has dropped from 8.94 to 6.65; his BB/9 rate has ballooned from 1.76 to 4.61; and his HR/FB% has doubled from 9.8% to 19.4%! This has all led to, you guessed it, massive FIP increases. Harvey is running a 5.85 FIP in 2017 vs. just a 3.05 FIP in 2015 and 3.47 FIP in 2016, respectively.

It is the walks that makes Harvey untrustworthy and that has shown no signs of abating, even with 3 performances out of his last 4 that were acceptable. Walks are the reason that Harvey has a 6.11 ERA even though he has allowed just a .198 batting average at home this year. He also has issues with fatigue I’m seeing, making Harvey dangerous to back on full game lines (but I guess slightly better with F5 lines). The first time through the order Harvey allows a .215 BAA, second time a .250 BAA and third time .284 BAA.

Mike Montgomery comes into his second start of the year after a 4-inning, 2-run performance against the Rockies at home. He’s been pitching long relief this year for the Cubs with some success and carries a 2.43 ERA. The one issue with Montgomery I have is with his walk rate of 5.09 BB/9. However, he runs a 57.9% ground-ball rate that helps him with that considerably. That has kept his career BABIP down to .275 and his HR/FB% this year to 8.7%.

With the Chicago bullpen holding a strong 3.22 vs. 4.79 ERA advantage over the Mets, I like this matchup even more if Montgomery can just give us 5 quality innings. The Mets also struggle against lefties this year with a .223 ERA through Monday. I’ll take a very reasonable line for the Cubs here and grab them on the moneyline at -107 at Pinnacle as one of my Wednesday MLB selections.

Free MLB Pick: Cubs -107Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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