Matt Harvey – who learned a lesson from Jacob deGrom – wants to pitch as much as possible now
Matt Harvey will be pitching in game one of the National League Championship Series against the Cubs on Saturday night in the chilly confines of Citi Field.
Harvey dominated the Cubs at Wrigley Field in early May when he allowed only three hits in seven innings, but he took a no-decision as Carlos Torres allowed two runs in the eighth while the Mets could only muster one run against Jason Hammel in a 2-1 loss, the club’s second of seven losses at the hands of the Cubs in 2015.
But for Harvey, his season has been scarred by public disagreements about the team attempting to slow his innings accumulation down throughout the season followed by a controversial week spearheaded by his agent, Scott Boras, and how he was about to exceed a supposed 180-inning cap for the entire season, including the postseason, in early September.
But now, Harvey wants to simply pitch as much as possible in this series as the Mets embark on their first pennant in 15 years, and not talk about innings restrictions anymore.
He was clear about that in late September when he pitched the Mets to their first division title in nine years, and now as the club gets set to open the NLCS on Saturday.
“I think everybody kind of had enough talk and discussion about that whole ordeal,” Harvey said at Citi Field on Friday. “I’ll be the last person to ever bring that one up again.”
Harvey said he has put the innings flap in the rearview mirror, and is focused on pitching as much as he can to help the Mets to the top of the baseball mountain in 2015.
“There have been a lot of ups and downs,” Harvey said about the season. “All the success that we’re having as a team has kind of put the downs a lot more out of my head than anything.”
Meanwhile, Sandy Alderson offered no promises Harvey would pitch more than once in this series, although he is aligned to pitch game five in Chicago on regular rest. Harvey is the logical candidate to pitch, especially if the Mets are forced to reshuffle their rotation by pushing Noah Syndergaard back from his tenative game two assignment.
“It’s not a decision that we have to make immediately, but certainly he’s lined up for Game 1 and we’ll see how he comes out of that,” Alderson said.
But Alderson is pleased with how Harvey not only performed in 2015, but how he handled himself despite a difficult and tenuous time in early September.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Matt and what he has accomplished this year and coming back from that surgery, pitching as much as he has, as well as he has, and his determination to pitch in the postseason,’’ Alderson explained on Friday. “There was a little tumult along the way and I think he’s learned a lot from the experience and he’s probably a much better pitcher and person as a result.’’
Harvey also wants to ensure he pitches better than he did in his playoff debut last Monday against the Dodgers, during which he allowed three runs in five innings, although the Mets rallied for a convincing 13-7 win in game three of the Division Series.
But as good as Harvey has been since his debut and in his recovery from Tommy John Surgery this season. Harvey said he learned something from his partner at the top of the Mets rotation, Jacob deGrom, on Thursday in Los Angeles.
For deGrom was far from his best either, but his will and determination helped lead the Mets to a date with the Cubs in this best-of-seven playoff series.
“It’s a fight,” he explained. “I think the biggest thing deGrom showed the other day, I kind of went through it my first start, is when you give up a couple runs, you really have to battle the last couple innings and really try and keep them off the board.”
Hopefully Harvey has three or four more successful fights left in him in 2015.