As the New York Mets clinched their first postseason berth and NL East division championship since 2006, ace pitcher Matt Harvey has reportedly requested to pitch significantly longer outings to remain sharp, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.
Harvey, 26, came under heavy scrutiny when his 180 innings limit approached. Harvey is coming off Tommy John surgery. Agent Scott Boras insisted his client shouldn’t exceed that limit, and Harvey himself seemed unsure of his status going forward.
But, after assuring people he would pitch in the playoffs, partnered with his five-inning start against the New York Yankes, “The Dark Knight” went to manager Terry Collins and said he wanted to pitch more, as Rubin writes.
“I need to throw 100 pitches in my next two outings. We’re going to win this, and I need to be ready for the playoffs, and I’m not ready. In the game against the Yankees, I finally felt comfortable in the fifth inning, and I came out. I’ve got to get ready.”
At this point, Harvey has already exceed the 180 innings cap with his six-and-two-third inning effort against the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday afternoon. Now, Harvey will be heavily relied upon in the playoffs — but before the team gets there — he will make one more regular season start.
And before he makes that start, Harvey wants to be stretched out and sharp. After pitching five shutout innings against the Yankees, Harvey was pulled and the Yankees rallied to win an eventual 11-2 laugher.
Collins acknowledged that the team was not happy with the situation, but was not mad at Harvey himself.
“They weren’t mad at him. Nobody was mad at Matt. It was just the whole situation I think guys were mad at. Not Matt. We’re fighting for the pennant here. Nobody was mad at Matt. Just like me, I wasn’t mad at Matt. It was the situation.”
This upcoming Saturday at Citi Field versus the Washington Nationals, Harvey will make his last regular season start. For the reason, his totals sit at 13-7 with a 2.80 ERA in 183 1/3 innings. But Rubin notes that the Mets do not expect him to throw more than 75 to 80 pitches in that start.
In the end, how much or how little Harvey pitches will be up to him. In discussing the protocol for Harvey to take, Mets GM Sandy Alderson said “It’s his call,” and the next day, Collins told Harvey “You’re on.”
Looking ahead to when the Mets could use Harvey in the playoffs, Collins says that using him in Game 3 seems like a viable option, since that game is the most pivotal in his mind.
“For me, one of the biggest games of the playoffs is Game 3. It’s huge. For me it’s the pivotal game of any playoff. That might be the perfect spot. We can watch his workload yet have him pitch the pivotal game.”
[Image by John Sommers II/Getty Images]