It’s going to be a made for TV show when Matt “The Brat” Harvey takes the mound Monday night to face Chase Utley for the first time. The event will give us a preview of Harvey’s mindset as he makes the most important start of his career. Based on his immature behavior to date (most recently missing a mandatory workout just before the Playoffs), it’s likely he’ll also “miss” this one too – and forgot that his job is to get the batter out and move on to win the game. Terry Collins (pictured above counseling Harvey) has his hands full with this guy, but you can be sure that he will be miffed if Harvey decides to take the “law into his own hands”. And that’s the way it should be.
The play by Utley on Rueben Tejada is obviously questionable from many standpoints. Of one thing we can be sure – it turned the game upside down and propelled the Dodgers to victory. For Utley, he executed a play that is taught and preached by every coaching staff in the Majors. Your job, in that situation, is to break up the double play. He did that. The fact that he didn’t begin his slide until he nearly reached the bag is a given. The fact that he never touched the base himself is a given. The fact that Tejada was in a awkward position after receiving the ball is a given. The fact that the umpire accepted the “neighborhood play” and called Utley out is a given. It’s really all about judgment with several things happening in a split second. The second judgment call belongs to Joe Torre who has the unenviable job of sorting things out after the fact. Complicating things further is the splendid call by Don Mattingly to have the entire sequence reviewed, resulting in a safe call that negated the judgment call on the field (Tejada’s foot never touched the base). A train wreck if there ever was one…….
Still, life goes on. Terry Collins has been in the game long enough to know that. And that message better be delivered long and hard to his entire team. But most especially, he needs to hit “The Brat” over the head with a bat if he has to. “Play the game son, we need 27 outs from you so don’t give them anything”. Because ultimately, the best form of retaliation for the Mets (and Harvey) is to win the game and take a commanding lead in the series.