Matt Harvey’s postseason innings – and overall availability – could still be uncertain
Wherever the Mets go, Matt Harvey’s innings seem to be follow.
Or, a lack thereof.
He will make an abbreviated start against the Reds on Saturday, and is expected to make one final start during the regular season, Terry Collins reaffirmed on Saturday afternoon.
But throughout this entire saga and debate surrounding the Mets ace’s innings and whether or not a complete shutdown was imminent, both Harvey and the club have stated the pitcher will in fact be pitching in the playoffs.
“He is going to pitch if we get to the postseason,” Collins said before last Sunday’s start. “So now, how do you get to that point? How do you get him into that? Well, we could shut him down right now and we’d have all sorts of innings left in the postseason. The issue is he’s a big factor.”
Mets GM Sandy Alderson said last Monday the club, the player and his agent were all in agreement how the club would press forward in managing his workload into October.
“If we ask him to do something, he will do it,” Alderson said of Harvey.
Even after his last start against the Yankees – during which he pitched five innings of one-hit ball, Harvey stated he didn’t believe there would be any sort of limitations on him come October.
However, the Mets still have to plan in the event they are forced to limit Harvey’s workload, given the drama, miscommunication and “he said/she said” game the Mets, Harvey and his agent are involved with heading into the club’s most pivotal month in nearly a decade.
And according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Mets are indeed bracing for the possibility they might have to limit Harvey should the Mets reach the National League Championship Series or the World Series in late October.
That’s where Bartolo Colon or even Jon Niese might come into play, Heyman says.
“They understand that Harvey may not go the distance should they make it to the final (or semifinal) round,” Heyman explains. “They think they are in decent shape on the others in terms of innings, and Bartolo Colon and Jon Niese give them decent fill-ins.”
Decent, yes. But are either of them Harvey? With all due respect, there aren’t many pitchers like Harvey.
But once again, the situation surrounding Harvey impacts more than just Harvey, especially on a limited 25-man postseason roster which can only be altered if an injury occurs.
The depth of their pitching staff could most definitely be impacted by the problem this fall, and their ability or willingness to carry an extra pitcher – either Niese or Logan Verrett – in lieu of a position player in any of the three rounds of the postseason. If the Mets feel they need the extra arm to piggyback Harvey or even limit his appearances in any given round, they unquestionably have to have the extra starting pitcher available and on the active roster.
Of course, if they’re sure the leash is off Harvey, they can operate the roster freely and more effectively.
But they might not know immediately how this is going to play out. Should the Mets advance beyond the Division Series, the situation might fluctuate and force the Mets to alter their roster accordingly.
It’s not ideal by any means, especially when the problem surrounds their ace pitcher potentially not pitching the franchise’s most important games in a decade.
And that’s the foundation of this entire problem to begin with.