Harvey Day comes with a catch attached to it now…
It’s Harvey Day. Although there’s a catch to that now.
Matt Harvey will start for the Mets against CC Sabathia when the Mets and Yankees take the field in Flushing Sunday night on national television.
It’s the first start for Harvey in 12 days. The last time he took to the mound, Harvey got pounded by the Nationals and was knocked out after allowing seven runs.
But Terry Collins is confident that despite the extended layoff, Harvey will live up to the expectation and deliver his club a much-needed series win against the Yankees.
“He’s Matt Harvey. I always feel good. When I come to the ballpark and he’s pitching, there’s a smile on my face,” Collins said after Saturday’s loss. “And he gets up for these kind of games.
“Look at any night he’s pitched – especially Sunday night games on national TV – a big audience, big crowd, the Yankees. He loves to pitch against the Yankees. And I expect him to step up,” Collins concluded.
But no matter what Harvey wants or says on Sunday, he probably won’t last very long in this outing.
“Unfortunately, I’m going to have some reins on him,” the manager explained.
Harvey stands at 171 2/3 innings in 2015, just about nine short of what both he and his agent have requested to be shutdown at for the season.
So Harvey will likely pitch no more than six innings on Sunday night against the Yankees. But there is no set limit on Harvey – it will all depend on how he’s pitching.
“There’s no pitch count involved. I’m just going to limit his workload, and that’ll be my decision when I think he should come out,” Collins said. “Obviously, if he’s working very, very hard, it might be earlier. If he’s cruising, it might be a little bit later. He’s not going to go deep into the game. We’ll just see how he does and how they react to him.”
The Mets will likely breach the 180-inning threshold in the regular season, as Terry Collins has said Harvey will pitch shorter outings between now and the 162nd game of the season in an effort to keep him sharp for the playoffs.
The question is whether or not that will be effective enough to keep Harvey on-point. As it stands now, he’s only thrown 23 2/3 innings since August 11 after being skipped twice in the rotation and showing some ineffectiveness in-between.
He’s allowed 11 earned runs and 20 base runners in his only two starts in September, a span of only 11 2/3 innings.
So rust might definitely be an issue for Harvey, which is partly why the Mets want to keep him in the rotation as much as possible while they balance the innings limit they have set for him in 2015, which was always believed to be between 180-195 innings in the regular season.
The problem is, the Mets simply stand to lose no matter what they do with Harvey. They may have already lost, although it’s no fault of their own.
If Harvey is going to make only abbreviated starts, it puts a strain on their bullpen they might not otherwise experience. The only saving grace now is it’s taking place with an expanded bullpen thanks to September roster expansion.
But is that so great to begin with? Is it wise to ask the bullpen for 12-15 outs by default on these days, not knowing what tomorrow brings?
Its certainly not how Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson drew September up, that is for sure. But one player is clearly affecting how the manager and coaching staff operate the rest of the team and game plan on Harvey Day.
If Harvey had dealt with a six-man rotation in May and June when the team tried to reign him in then, this probably wouldn’t be a problem today.
Harvey Day once brought a degree of certainty and a smooth road every fifth day. Now, Harvey Day comes on potentially the rockiest of roads to get to a victory.
That’s not exactly an ideal catch.