Baltimore starter Matt Harvey looks to return to his July form when the Orioles host the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday.
The 32-year-old right-hander strung together three superb starts, tossing 18 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings to end the month. He won all three outings and lowered his ERA from 7.70 to 6.20.
Harvey (6-10, 6.13 ERA) gave up two runs on three hits in four innings in his latest start, a no-decision against the New York Yankees on Aug. 4. He was pulled after 63 pitches due to a right knee injury. Harvey felt a “tweak” in the knee in the second inning and discomfort later on.
“Going forward in the outing, I felt I couldn’t quite push off the rubber and stay in my mechanics the way I needed to, especially against a lineup like that,” Harvey said.
The schedule provided some extra rest as Harvey recovered.
“I think the fortunate thing is that he’s going to get two extra days before his next start,” manager Brandon Hyde said.
Harvey tossed 6 1/3 shutout innings against the Tigers on July 30. In his career, he is 1-1 with a 1.98 ERA in three games, two starts, vs. Detroit.
The Tigers will counter with Tarik Skubal (7-10, 4.32 ERA). The 24-year-old left-hander has worked at least five innings in each of his past seven starts.
On Thursday, he pitched five scoreless innings as the Tigers beat the Red Sox 8-1 to win a three-game series. He allowed five hits and a walk while striking out four. After allowing three homers in each of his two previous starts, he adjusted his position on the pitching rubber and was long-ball-free against Boston.
“That adjustment was huge for me, especially being able to get in to righties,” Skubal said of moving from the first base side to the middle of the rubber. “I did that a lot today, and when I missed, I missed in instead of back over the plate for the most part.”
Skubal lost to the Orioles on July 30, allowing four runs in 5 2/3 innings.
The Tigers beat the Orioles 9-4 on Tuesday night as Jeimer Candelario hit a two-run homer and Willi Castro drove in three runs with a triple and a double. Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera, who is sitting on 498 career homers, went 1-for-3 with a single and a walk.
The game’s most concerning play happened in the eighth inning. Tigers outfielders Derek Hill and Akil Baddoo, each running at full speed, crashed into each other in left-center while Hill caught Anthony Santander’s fly ball.
Both players remained on the ground before eventually walking off as they were replaced by subs.
After the game, Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said Hill’s ribs were getting examined and Baddoo was being checked for a concussion and a shoulder injury.
“I will be surprised if (Baddoo) doesn’t need a few days if not an IL stint,” Hinch said. “By the time I got out there, both guys were pretty banged up and in a lot of pain. It was a very scary incident.”
The Orioles lost their sixth straight game despite getting two solo home runs from Santander and a homer from DJ Stewart. Cedric Mullins went 1-for-4 and extended his hitting streak to 17 games, during which he is 24-for-68 (.353).
Santander is 12-for-28 (.429) in August.
“He’s swinging with bat speed we’ve seen in the past and he’s getting to fastballs,” Hyde said. “It’s noticeably different.”
The problem for the Orioles is pitching. During the six-game skid, Baltimore has allowed nine runs or more in each contest.
–Field Level Media