|Matt Harvey during spring training, 2015. Photo: Stephen Guilbert|
My quick reaction to Matt Harvey's proclamation that he knows about the 180 IP limit and non-commitment to surpassing that mark is as follows:
Matt Harvey just changed the script. In any good drama we have a hero, a hero's ally and a villain--the character challenging the hero along their journey and the force the hero must overcome. Up until this point, our heroic Mets have dealt with their villains both in friendly and evil forms--be it the Nationals, injuries, bad umpiring, poor bullpen management, bad middle relief, or spinal stenosis. Most recently, the plot in New York City has been, "The Mets are going to make the playoffs despite" just a couple of things, mainly "a late surge by a healthy Washington Nationals team" as the predicate in that sentence. It could also be despite no 7th inning option out of the bullpen or despite questionable bullpen usage by manager Terry Collins or certainly despite injuries to star slugger Lucas Duda.
All of these plots assumed that the Mets would overcome these obstacles and defeat these villains along with star pitcher Matt Harvey. They assumed that The Dark Knight would be the force against the villain. Now, the script has changed and the talk around baseball now is that the Mets will have to succeed despite Matt Harvey. Matt Harvey, in an eight minute interview, turned himself into the villain.
My personal thoughts on the matter are pretty simple--it is up to him. It Matt Harvey does not feel like Matt Harvey is healthy enough to pitch much longer this season, Matt Harvey should not pitch much longer this season. No matter how poorly he went about this situation (throwing his doctor and agent under the bus, stringing the Mets along, deceiving Sandy Alderson and Mets fans), the choice is his. The evidence on TJS recovery and innings limits (also, why are we even talking about innings limits?) is so inconclusive that a pitcher who really wanted to pitch a full season would, assuming he feels good enough to. Harvey has said he does. So will he?
All I know at this moment is that the hero has lived long enough to become the villain. The Mets might need to find a way to win despite Matt Harvey, not because of Matt Harvey. Talk about a plot twist.