MetsBlog Q&A: Matt Harvey talks changeup, debut at Citi Field

Last Friday in San Diego, MetsBlog’s Michael Baron sat down with Matt Harvey and discussed the evolution of Harvey’s changeup, as well as his debut at Citi Field this Friday:

Michael Baron: Tell me about the evolution of your changeup. How has it become an important piece of your repertoire?

Matt Harvey: It was something that I needed to keep throwing, to get used to throwing, to get back. You know I threw it a lot my freshman and sophomore years of college and all the left-hand hitters, they would say, “I hate that change up, I hate that change up.” I kind of went away from it because I didn’t really need it. I got better control of my fastball, started throwing a sinker, started throwing a slider, then a curveball, and I was mixing those things in. I was finding a lot of success with those, and it really pushed the changeup back into the end of the arsenal or whatever you call it. Same thing with St. Lucie, I had a lot of success with the slider, a lot of success with the fastball, a lot of success with the curveball, and I threw a couple changeups, and I didn’t throw them I guess at the right time and a guy got a hit or he pulled it. So I kind of pushed it to the back, and then this year in Triple-A, I really noticed that there was a need for it and a lot of the guys can hit 95, 96 and they’ll stay in on it and hit it to left-center for a left-handed hitter and right-center for a right-handed hitter. It was at that time that I knew that I really needed to. So then when I went back to it, it was a little too hard, a little flat, so I had to go back to where I first developed it, and I looked back to different grips, different pressures and different placement on the ball and once I did that and once I found the really comfortable grip that I have now, it was like there it is. There it is. It kind of clicked and it was something I kept going with and moving around a little bit and now I’m feeling really comfortable with it.

Michael Baron: Is it just you keep throwing it to get that feel and make that adjustment, or is it something you’ve always had in your back pocket and you were just fastball happy or slider happy and you were emphasizing your fast curve and slider?

Matt Harvey: You know in your mind, any pitch that you have 100-percent confidence in when you’re throwing at the time, you’re going to have a lot more success with it. Once I really did get  that grip down, obviously I throw the slider like my fastball, and I’ve always had that curveball and now being able to have that changeup where I’m almost excited to throw it when I know hitters may be cheating out on my fastball and then drop it in there and see the lunges, that’s what’s fun to me is getting to the point where not everything is all hard anymore, it’s, “Hey, let’s pump the breaks and throw a changeup.” The biggest person who said that over and over again and who saw a lot of success with just a fastball, slider and curveball is Wally. He said, “You really, you gotta learn how to pitch.” And like Rob Johnson, he said, “Today you pitched. There’s been days that I’ve caught you and you’ve thrown, you’re learning how to pitch,” and he goes, “and I’m scared.”

Michael Baron: Are you at all nervous or amped up for your start at Citi Field?

Matt Harvey: I’m excited. I can’t wait. I can’t wait to get back. A lot of family, a lot of friends will be there.