The Matt Harvey Innings Dilemma

Michael Pardo

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Back in the beginning of the 2015 baseball season the New York Mets had a strong, but somewhat questionable pitching rotation, featuring young starters such as Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob DeGrom, and Steven Matz. However, they were not the favorites to win their division with the Nationals having a very talented lineup including Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Jordan Zimmeremann. The Nationals never lived up to their expectations right from the beginning, with injuries plaguing their season; meanwhile, the Mets have far exceeded expectations with their new lineup and improved pitching. The Mets were able to add some bats at the trade deadline, acquiring Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson, and Yoenis Cespedes to make a big push for the playoffs. With the playoffs coming up in October, the Mets are going to need to maintain a healthy lineup and finish strong to take the top seed and play at home.

Unfortunately, the former All-Star and Rookie of the Year Matt Harvey faces a big dilemma. After undergoing a season-ending surgery called Tommy John on his elbow last year, Harvey has been limited to only 180 innings this year. As of September 10 he had already pitched 171 2/3. In the past few days Matt Harvey has said that he will pitch in the playoffs this year, but only 20 innings (3-4 starts). Because of this huge limitation, the Mets will have to use him sparingly, with the intention of using him in the later, more important playoff games, including the World Series, if they make it that far. In 2012, Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals underwent the same surgery and was on a strict innings limit. When the Nationals made the playoffs, he was unable to pitch because he had exceeded his limit and they lost in the first round. Since then, Strasburg’s ERA has been high and very inconsistent; it is scary that a similar fate might fall upon Matt Harvey. Lately, there have been some rumors that the Mets are exploring different trade options for Matt Harvey because of his uncertainty and pitching dilemma. Even if Matt Harvey does pitch in the playoffs, it would be his first time pitching in a month, and also in a high pressure situation. Honestly, if I were Matt Harvey I would pitch every other scheduled start to get ready for the playoffs and then pitch in the playoffs with no innings limit. That is what I would do if I were Matt Harvey; what would you do?