Cincinnati (11-27) acquired Harvey from the New York Mets on Tuesday in exchange for catcher Devin Mesoraco.
Harvey is hoping to reignite his major league career after posting a 9-19 record over the past three seasons with the Mets.
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Harvey started the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field, home of the Mets, and finished fourth in the National League Cy Young Award voting that season. But he wasn’t as effective after undergoing Tommy John surgery following the 2013 season.
He also made headlines in New York for several off-the-field issues.
“At times, there were some pretty negative thoughts about where my career was,” he told reporters on Thursday. “But I think fighting through that, and throwing the ball the way I have been, in bullpens and in between outings, it’s in there. It just needs to come out. I just need to relax and let it happen.”
Harvey, who is 0-2 with a 7.00 ERA in eight games (four starts) this season, was designated for assignment May 4, marking the end of his tenure in New York.
“I had a lot of people say that that was the best thing, but I think just pitching is what’s important,” he said. “Obviously, I’ve had a lot of success in New York and I’ve had not so much success. Regardless of where you are, it’s still pitching and performing. It’s still major league baseball. You still have to get hitters out.”
The Reds optioned left-hander Brandon Finnegan (0-3, 7.40 ERA) to Triple-A Louisville to make room for Harvey, who is expected to be on a conservative pitch count.
Harvey is 1-2 in four regular-season starts against the Dodgers with a 4.50 ERA. He last faced Los Angeles in Game 5 of the 2015 NL Division series and threw five innings in the 13-7 victory that eliminated Los Angeles.
The Dodgers (16-21) continue to struggle following their World Series appearance last season.
They lost the series opener to the Reds 4-1 on Thursday night, their fourth loss in the past five games.
“It’s been a trend that we’ve seen all year,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters Thursday night. “Recently, we’ve got guys on base, had a chance to break a game open, get a little separation, breathing room for our pitchers, and we haven’t been able to come through.”
The Dodgers are 8-10 at home.
“It’s very frustrating and I expect those guys in the clubhouse to be as frustrated as well,” Roberts said. “For us to have a below average record at home, unacceptable, so we better come ready to play (Friday).”
The Dodgers’ Friday starter, Kenta Maeda (2-2, 4.02), has put the Dodgers in an early hole in his past two starts.
He gave up a three-run homer to Evan Longoria of the San Francisco Giants in the first inning of a 4-2 loss on April 29, and yielded a two-run homer to Eric Hosmer in the first inning of a 7-4 loss to the San Diego Padres on Saturday.
Maeda has made two career appearances against the Reds, and they were nine days apart last season.
He pitched the final four innings of a 7-2 win on June 9 for the only save of his three-year major league career, then allowed one run and three hits over five innings of an 8-7 victory June 18.