Anyone who was paying attention while Bush the first was in office remembers how six words came back to haunt him. During the campaign he famously said, “Read my lips: No new taxes!” And of course he raised taxes and ultimately became a one-term president. This is just one of many cases of a politician doing what we call a flip-flop.
Meanwhile, prior to Monday night’s game against the Giants, Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson talk about using an innings limit this year to protect the health of prized pitcher Matt Harvey. They talk about holding him out of the All-Star game if he makes too many pitches in his last start before the Midseason Classic.
And then they send him out to the mound in the seventh inning in a game in which he has already thrown 107 pitches. Now is a good time to mention that no other pitcher on the team has been sent out this year to start an inning in a game in which they had already thrown 107 pitches. It’s also a good time to mention that the Mets held a one-run lead in this game at the time. And one more thing – they let Harvey bat in the top of the inning.
This is not a second guess. This is a decision that looked bad at the time that it was made. It looked worse when Harvey came out and coughed up the lead. Things didn’t improve when we watched the bullpen throw nine innings of scoreless ball. And things looked their bleakest when it was announced that Harvey had a blister.
Why on earth would you allow the team’s most prized player to go out and start an inning when he had already thrown 107 pitches and was nursing a blister? The same one who allegedly needs an innings limit at the end of the year? This is the type of stuff that just boggles the mind.
It’s gotten to the point that we don’t know which one is more likely – The Mets playing an extra-inning game or Collins making a decision that runs counter to the best interests of the team.
One of the great unknowns is how much responsibility for decisions is completely in Collins’ hands and how much is directed above by Alderson. Yet it’s hard for me to believe that Alderson got on the Bat Phone and demanded that Collins put Harvey out there again in the seventh inning. This one seems firmly on the manager.
Meanwhile, there is one thing that we know beyond a shadow of a doubt. Harvey has had his struggles in the late innings of games this season. From the seventh inning on, he’s allowed a 5.09 ERA. Contrast that to the sub 2.00 ERA he has for innings one through six. Plus, that 5.09 ERA includes games where he had no-hit stuff. Anyone who watched Harvey throw 50 pitches over the first two innings Monday recognized this was not one of those days.
So, add this one to the list of bonehead decisions made by Collins and/or Alderson for the 2013 season. And if you have the chance to talk to either man directly, ask why it’s important to impose an innings limit on Harvey at the end of the year to protect his long-term health but it makes sense to send him to the mound in a game where he does not have his best stuff, has already thrown 107 pitches and is nursing a blister.
Because I’d really like to know why.