Posted on May 20, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
A season that has not gone as expected for New York Mets’ ace Matt Harvey hit a new low Thursday night, as Harvey lasted just 2.2 innings against the Washington Nationals, the shortest outing of his career. After the game, Mets’ manager Terry Collins intimated that the team may skip Harvey’s next scheduled start, which at the moment is slated for next Tuesday against the very same Nationals team that roughed him up for nine runs (six earned) on Thursday night.
To be fair, Harvey’s teammates didn’t do him any favors. An error by the usually-sure handed shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera prevented a potentially inning-ending double play that could have allowed Harvey to escape the inning before much of the damage was done. A couple other plays that went down as hits could have also been outs with a little better defense. But that doesn’t change the fact that Harvey has been nowhere near the top of his game this season. Something is definitely off about him, which is why Collins is considering skipping his next turn in the rotation.
“We’re going to take a look — is that best for him, is that best for us?” Collins said about the possibility of skipping Harvey’s next start. “We’re not going to commit to anything at this time. But I will tell you, as I sit here today, I’d certainly trust him. I certainly believe in him. I hadn’t seen him struggle like this before.”
Predictably, Harvey was bullish about the idea of missing a start, saying after the game: “It’s my job to go out there and keep working and try to figure this thing out. That’s all I’m going to do is start over tomorrow and keep working hard and do everything I can to fix this.”
The best course for the Mets could be to place Harvey on the DL to give him a couple weeks, and perhaps a couple minor league starts, to work through whatever is ailing him, although the team says there is no physical injury ailing Harvey. It may be important to note that Harvey did suffer from a urinary-tract infection during spring training. Collins doesn’t think that’s related to Harvey’s current struggles, but says medical testing may be warranted.
Collins is of the belief that the 230 innings Harvey threw last season in his first year back from Tommy John surgery is playing a role in the trouble he’s encountered this season. Collins explains, “It’s not an excuse. We don’t make excuses here. I think it might be a reason. I think there’s a difference between a reason and an excuse. That’s where I stand on it.” Whatever words Collins wants to use, the bottom line is that he doesn’t believe Harvey has recovered physically from last year’s heavy workload.
The manager also notes it’s the first time in his professional career that Harvey has gone through any prolonged struggles. “There are two types of people in this game — ones who have been humbled and ones who will be,” Collins says, adding, “And at this level, that’s a scary thing to have happen — when you don’t know how to fix something because you’ve never had to.”
Whether Harvey ends up getting skipped, or even put on the DL, is something the Mets will have to work out in the next few days. But the fact that such an idea is even on the table speaks volumes about Harvey’s poor performance this season. Unfortunately for the Mets, the ace remains as befuddled as the rest of us, saying: “There’s as many answers that I’d like to find as you guys are looking for. Right now, everybody saw the game. I’m not happy about it. I know nobody else is. I’ve got to pick up tomorrow and, like I’ve said all along, start over and keep looking for answers.”