Matt Harvey is far removed from the days when he was the New York Mets' ace. He still can be an effective starter, if not an overpowering one.
The Baltimore Orioles right-hander tossed six scoreless innings in each of his past two starts. He will look to keep the shutout streak going in a road matchup against the Detroit Tigers on Friday.
Harvey (5-10, 6.65 ERA) allowed a combined four hits and one walk in those 12 innings, but his strikeout totals were modest -- two against the Kansas City Royals and four against the Washington Nationals. He hasn't fanned more than four batters in his past nine appearances.
"I think the All-Star break really gave him a nice little recharge in the batteries," Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. "The last four years or so have been a lot of sporadic outings, injuries, etc., then he didn't pitch much last year at all. ... The nice nine- to 10-day break really helped."
Harvey also believes the extra days off helped him prepare for the second half.
"I think definitely being able to just kind of flip the switch and just really pretend that I'm starting fresh and trying to concentrate on being out there every fifth, sixth, seventh day, whatever it is with all these off days," he said. "Just trying to try to win as many games as I can for this team and really just kind of start over."
Harvey has faced the Tigers only twice in his career, including one start, going 0-1 with a 3.68 ERA.
Detroit will counter with rookie left-hander Tarik Skubal (6-9, 4.42 ERA). He pitched very well in his last home start on July 20, holding the Texas Rangers to one run in six innings. On Sunday, Skubal gave up five runs -- including three home runs -- in five innings at Kansas City.
"I got ambushed," Skubal said. "It's part of the game."
He has never faced the Orioles.
The Tigers won the first game of the four-game series 6-2 on Thursday as Miguel Cabrera hit a pair of solo, opposite-field home runs. He now has 497 homers for his career and 10 for the season.
"For him to still be able to do that, it's so impressive to me," Detroit pitcher Casey Mize said. "He's a sparkplug for our team. ... He's definitely our leader."
Detroit was coming off its biggest offensive showing of the season, a wild 17-14 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday in Minneapolis. The offense continued to be productive in the opener against Baltimore, as Cabrera, Eric Haase, Jonathan Schoop and Jeimer Candelario combined for 10 hits, five runs and six RBIs.
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde is hopeful his team won't be as overanxious against Skubal as it was against Mize. Baltimore produced only an unearned run against the rookie right-hander in his seven innings, even though he recorded just two strikeouts.
"I'm disappointed in our approach tonight a little bit," Hyde said. "It's something we talked about before the game (and didn't execute). Tonight, we were chasing balls in (and hitting) a lot of jam balls to the right side."
Baltimore had won four of its last five games prior to Thursday. Detroit has won three in a row after a four-game skid.
--Field Level Media