Terry Collins insists that by sending Matt Harvey out there again and again Harvey’s engine will start itself even though hitters are batting over .500 against him the third time through the lineup. It happened again last night with former Met Daniel Murphy putting the finishing touch on another disastrous start by Harvey with a rocket two run blast that landed in the seats even before Met announcers could make the call.
Ron Darling, the Mets TV commentator, tried his best to gloss over the unfolding nightmare but he did recover to make some salient points. He dismissed the notion that Harvey is “just working through something”. It’s beyond that. He also talked about that all important factor in a sport where failure is something you learn to live with – or you don’t.
Matt Harvey, since day one, has always been the golden boy. At every level, it’s always come easy for him. And to make matters worse for him now, he’s self promoted himself as the next biggest star in the Big Apple.
Clearly, it’s time for Plan B because Plan A isn’t working. There are options that Terry Collins has. None of them are easy to swallow. But the Mets season can easily hang in the balance based on what he decides to do for the overall good of the other 24 players on his team………
Given the hole that he’s dug for himself, a quick fix is not a possibility at this juncture. Even if he could win seven of his next ten decisions, he would still be a .500 pitcher at 10-10 well after the All Star break. Not exactly the number you want to see for your “ace”.
PlanB options exist. The best one would be to “find” an ailment that qualifies for putting Harvey on the 15 day disabled list. This could be something as innocuous as a “tired arm”. Allow him to collect his thoughts and work on his mechanics which Harvey says is his main problem.
Another option is to send him down to make two or three starts. And don’t send him to AAA Las Vegas. Send him to nearby AA Binghamton so if the Mets have an off day Dan Warthen can take the two hour ride to check on him. As a bonus, Harvey could take the short ride to nearby Cooperstown to remind himself what this is really all about and the lofty goals he set for himself a few years ago.
The third and least desirable option is to keep him in the rotation and run the risk of further destroying what’s left of what is (apparently) a very fragile ego. It’s sort of like the glass half empty or glass half full question. In other words, keep turning the key and hope for the best even if it defies logic.
Terry Collins deserves all the credit in the world for sticking by his player. That takes courage. But sometimes courage can border on stupidity as when someone runs into a building engulfed in flames to save his cat. It goes without saying that the Mets need Harvey and they need him in a big way.
But there’s no in between here. And as the season moves past Memorial Day, the traditional beginning of the real pennant races, the clock starts to tick. So far, the team is staying with the Nationals. But because of Harvey’s two poor starts, they remain behind and not ahead of the Nats.
Cue the lights. The drama continues to play itself out……