As beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, the same can be said of a Matt Harvey start.
Harvey has been awful most of this season, so I would have sent him to the minor leagues for a couple of starts. However, Mets manager Terry Collins – after conferring with GM Sandy Alderson and pitching coach Dan Warthen – said enough was seen to let Harvey make his next start, Monday, against the Chicago White Sox at Citi Field.
It isn’t the first time I disagree with a Collins decision and won’t be the last.
Harvey opened the game with three scoreless innings, but as has been the case with him this year, he lost it in the middle innings giving up five runs on three homers in the Mets’ 7-4 loss to the Nationals.
It could have been worse, but a diving play by Neil Walker in the second thwarted a potential big inning.
“You saw the game,” catcher Kevin Plawecki told reporters wanting to know what is wrong with Harvey.
“`Even though his command wasn’t good, we saw great movement on his fastball,” began Collins’ explanation of why Harvey is getting another chance. “His velocity was up. There was tightness in his slider. These are all things we haven’t seen in his last couple of starts.
“We have to quit looking at the negatives and start looking at some positives. We’re going to try to build on it and see what he’s like next Monday. … This guy is too big a piece to write-off.”
Although I would have done it differently, I do applaud Collins’ loyalty toward his player, even when it backfired on him before.
Collins wouldn’t speculate as to what might happen with Harvey if he bombs again; most likely more drama. Collins certainly won’t say this is his last chance before Vegas because that put added stress on him.
Collins ruled out the disabled list because there apparently is nothing wrong with him, although players have been stashed there before. Reportedly, the minor leagues and bullpen weren’t options, but pushing him back was discussed.
Former Mets pitcher turned SNY analyst Ron Darling disagreed, saying he didn’t see much to build on, saying his slider looked good only 30% on the time and it is no big deal for a pitcher to amp it up occasionally.
Darling also criticized Harvey for not speaking after the game, saying “he lost some street cred’’ in the clubhouse, because it forced his teammates – in particular, Plawecki – to clean up his mess.
“His teammates are thinking, `we’re not here to clean up your mess, you clean up your own mess.’
“Part of being a professional athlete is you have to answer the questions,’’ Darling said.
Collins didn’t comment on Harvey’s unprofessional silent act, but Nationals manager Dusty Baker noticed.
“`It’s his prerogative to do what he wants to do,” said Baker, probably recalling his time when Barry Bonds was on his team. “`If he [doesn’t want to talk], he doesn’t have to talk. But he’s making it harder on himself. New York will eat you up.”
The nibbling has begun.