After a brutal 5-4 loss to the Orioles last night, the Mets 4th in their last 5 games, Manager Terry Collins said the Mets are considering skipping Matt Harvey’s next start (Sunday in Colorado) to help keep him within the innings limit the team set back in Spring Training.
Harvey, who started the 2013 All-Star game for the National League at Citi Field, missed the final six weeks of the 2013 regular season and all of 2014 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in August of 2013. The Mets set a limit of about 190 innings for him this year to protect him. Harvey is already at 154 innings and is on pace for about 6 more starts. That is going to put him over the limit (he is averaging over 6 innings per start now) unless they take him out of games early.
The plan was for the Mets to wait for rookie Steven Matz to return to the team after the rosters are expanded on September 1st and use him as a spot starter for both Harvey and rookie Noah Syndergaard, who is also approaching an innings limit. But with off days this week and the last place Colorado Rockies the opponent, Collins thought this might be the time.
“The only thing as a bearing is when you are going to do it,” Collins said. “It doesn’t matter if you are ahead or behind. There has to be a time frame of when you think is best. We’ve come up with an idea that we think is best so we’ll see if it works.”
Harvey last pitched on Sunday (8/16) and if they skip him on Sunday, his next scheduled start would not be until Friday (8/28) against the Red Sox. That’s 11 days between starts. But if the Mets are going to skip Harvey sometime between now and the end of the season, why not just do it now and get it over with? If they do, Collins has tapped Logan Verrett to start on Sunday in place of Harvey instead of waiting for Matz to return.
“We are trying to decide if we are going to skip guys, should we do it right away and then it’s cleared up and we can get back in the routine, or do we wait and pick a different time after Sept. 1 when we add the extra pitching,” Collins said.
Both Collins and General Manager Sandy Alderson have indicated in the last few weeks that although both Harvey and Syndergaard do have inning “limits” to consider, they would not shut them down once they reach the limits like the Washington Nationals did with Stephen Strasburg in 2012 after he returned to action after Tommy John surgery. Washington chose to shutdown Strasburg, who was 15-6 at the time, after 159 innings and not use him in the playoffs. That backfired when the Nationals, who were 98-64, were eliminated in the first round by St. Louis.