The question regarding Matt Harvey is basic: What next?
It would be a controversial decision, but should be a very simple one for the Mets. Either the Mets stick with Harvey to let him work his way out of this – even if it means taking more lumps – or he should be sent to the minor leagues or disabled list to rediscover himself.
“We’re not going to do anything rash tonight,” manager Terry Collins told reporters. “We’re going to sleep on it and discuss it tomorrow.”
Harvey had nothing to say because in a bush league move he bolted after the game without speaking and left it up to Collins, catcher Kevin Plawecki and his teammates to speak for him.
Twice Plawecki told reporters, “you watched the game.”
Previously, I advocated sticking with Harvey, but after giving up three homers in Tuesday night’s 7-4 loss at Washington, I’ve gone to the replay and upon further review think a change of scenery is the best option.
Going to Las Vegas should be seriously discussed, but the Mets have always gone out of their way to massage Harvey’s fragile ego, so they could manufacture a reason to put him on the disabled list, which eliminates the stigma of the minor leagues.
Either one should be GM Sandy Alderson’s choice for a variety of reasons:
* They can send him down to Triple-A Las Vegas or Double-A Binghamton if they want a closer look and let him work on everything, from conditioning to mechanics. The disabled list accomplishes the same objective. It’s the best option in it enables him to pitch without costing the Mets games.
* Harvey’s brief outings deplete the bullpen.
* It eliminates the between-starts distraction Harvey has become. What’s wrong with him? Will he make his next start? What’s wrong with him? And, another question: What’s wrong with him?
The answer could be one of many or a combination of a several. His velocity is down and command is off, but why?
Here are my theories, which I call “Harvey’s Dirty Dozen,’’ to explain why Harvey is 3-7 with a 6.08 ERA:
* Not enough work in spring training: Collins suggested Harvey’s early sluggishness was because the Mets reduced his workload to almost half of what is considered normal for a starter. That’s on Collins and Alderson. This would partially explain Harvey’s mechanical issues.
* Innings workload in 2015: This is on Collins and Alderson for not developing a definitive workload or program. It’s also on Harvey for continually pushing the envelope. Even his agent, Scott Boras, said Harvey wanted to pitch
* He’s hurt: Harvey denies this, but considering his history of withholding physical ailments, this option can’t be ignored.
* He’s out of shape: Yes, there have been cases with Mickey Lolich and Sid Fernandez, but there’s his growing paunch. His stamina is down and his mechanics aren’t crisp, so his conditioning must be considered. How can that not be a factor in his inability to make through the middle innings?
* Overcompensation for Game 5: He continually says he has no regrets for arguing with Collins to stay in the game and imploded in the ninth. How can he not think back on that game?
* Jealousy in the rotation: In 2013 Harvey was deemed the clear cut ace, but for all the talk of this being a close knit group that thrives on the competition, how can Harvey realistically ignore he’s fifth behind Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and Bartolo Colon? As a competitor, how can it not eat at him he’s not “the man,’’ anymore?
* Lack of run support: He’s 2-7 this year with less getting five runs support. But, how does that explain his 6.02 ERA in those games? Bottom line, if you’re a stud pitcher, you have to suck it up and figure out a way to win those games.
* He buys into the hype: It’s not the media or fans that wrongly placed Harvey on a pedestal, but for him believing he’s a superhero beyond reproach. After Tuesday, Harvey is 28-25 lifetime so let’s go easy on calling him great.
* He’s too sensitive: Harvey has openly clashed with the media to the point where he had a snow globe of a hand extending a middle finger, unquestionably directed at the press. He also had a photo taken of him in his hospital room flashing the bird. He couldn’t handle the innings flap last year or his urinary infection this spring.
* He thinks he knows it all: From withholding his physical problems, which was the first step towards Tommy John surgery. Then there was the arguing over his rehab, and where it would take place, to him forcing his way to the mound. He’s not shy in letting it known he doesn’t trust those around him.
* Tommy John let down: Sometimes a pitcher hits a wall in the second year following Tommy John surgery. Harvey didn’t just hit a wall, but ran into it head first.
* Supernova: I floated this idea after his last start against the Nationals and it still applies. Maybe this is a good as it will get for Harvey. Maybe Harvey is not the ace the Mets thought. Maybe that’s something we should get used to.
Harvey said the simulated game over the weekend helped, but he gave up five runs on eight hits in five innings against the Nationals. He’s given up 14 runs in his last two games. He’s not close to figuring things out.
Collins gave Harvey the option of skipping Tuesday’s start, but he wanted the ball, which is to be applauded. However, leaving the ballpark without talking was classless.
Maybe he’ll post something on The Player’s Tribune.
METS GAME WRAP
May 24, 2016, @ Washington
Game: #45 Score: Nationals 7, Mets 4
Record: 26-19 Streak: L 1
Standings: Second, NL East 1.5 games behind Nationals. Playoffs Today: First WC vs. Philadelphia
Runs: 178 Average: 3.95 Times 3 or less: 21
SUMMARY: The middle innings did in Harvey again. After opening the game with three scoreless innings to provide a glimmer of optimism, but he gave up five runs in the fourth and fifth innings, including homers by Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon and Daniel Murphy.
KEY MOMENT: Back-to-back homers by Zimmerman and Rendon in the fourth erased a brief Mets’ lead.
THUMBS UP: Asdrubal Cabrera’s homer in the fourth. … Two more hits from Yoenis Cespedes. … Eric Campbell’s two-run homer. … Kudos to SNY’s Nelson Figueroa and Gary Apple for taking Harvey to task for not talking after the game. Also to Ron Darling for suggesting the minor leagues was the best option. … Neil Walker’s diving stop saved Harvey a run in the second.
THUMBS DOWN: Harvey gave up three homers and the bullpen gave up two more. … Stephen Strasburg and two relievers struck out 15 Mets. … Just five hits. … Lefty reliever Antonio Bastardo gave up a homer to lefty hitter Revere.
QUOTEBOOK: “It is what it is,” Plawecki commenting on Harvey leaving him to answer questions.
BY THE NUMBERS: 15: Strikeouts by the Mets for a season high.
NEXT FOR METS: Matz starts Wednesday afternoon for the Mets.