Terry Collins and the flip-flop on Matt Harvey’s health

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.

16 comments for “Terry Collins and the flip-flop on Matt Harvey’s health

  1. Jerry Grote
    July 9, 2013 at 10:23 am

    What gets to me is this fascination with Matt Harvey and a bat in his hands. This isn’t the first time he’s let Harvey hit, late in a game.

    I’m speechless at what he sees … that normal baseball people don’t see.

  2. Jerry Grote
    July 9, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Honestly … let’s put ourselves in Terry Collins shoes. Imagine you have to defend this action to Sandy Alderson. What are you saying to him?

    What are you saying about playing Dan Murphy at 1B and JV at 2B?

    What are you saying about using Rice right into the ground?

  3. blastingzone
    July 9, 2013 at 11:08 am

    “Another bonehead decision by Collins” I love it! TC is the worse manager the mets have ever had except for maybe Art Howe? Collins said there will be no platoon at first base but the
    first left handed pitcher the Bucks threw at the mets Satin was in the lineup and I suspect
    you will see Satin in the lineup tonight with a left hander on the mound but there will not be
    a platoon at first base! The way Collins uses the bull pen is very confusing at times and the
    decisions he makes on what players he starts everyday and who he benches is at times very strange to say the least and it makes you wonder if he uses a dart board to make out the lineup? Collins is afraid to hurt players feelings and I suspect that after he puts his foot in his mouth which is almost everyday Sandy calls him and tells him what to do! I can’t wait for Collins to be fired at the end of the season and the mets get a real manager for 2014!!

    • July 9, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      Bud Harrelson is the worst manager the Mets ever had. Dallas Green is a very close second.

      • NormE
        July 9, 2013 at 3:48 pm

        Jerry Manuel must be in the running.

  4. July 9, 2013 at 11:23 am

    So did any reporter ask TC about his decision making when we’re told Harvey has a pitching limit and he goes out in the 7th after 107 pitches? What hypocrisy this management carries on its shoulders. It’s sad because if the Mets had a quality manager he would be worth at least 2 or 3 wins per season. Not like TC who’s worth 9 or 10 losts.

  5. za
    July 9, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Well, I agree with you and have little to add to the discussion other than “What a bonehead move…and not for the first time.”

  6. Metsense
    July 9, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    TC can’t manage a good bullpen as an earlier article proved.He prefers to have a regular line up instead of a platoon even when the deficiencies of the players dictate a platoon
    He over uses players that aren’t that talented and runs them into the ground. His use of the star pitcher last night was borderline criminal. It just didn’t make any sense. The team would be better off with a new manager to take them to the next level.

    • Jerry Grote
      July 9, 2013 at 3:15 pm

      Frustration at this,”he prefers to have a regular line up instead of a platoon even when the deficiencies of the players dictates a platoon” …

      AND YET when making pitching changes, he’s devoted to lefty-righty splits. So apparently platooning only works some of the time.

  7. steevy
    July 9, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    Fire Terry Collins!

  8. ed
    July 9, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    lame duck manager,will do anything for a win so he and the know nothing staff could come back 2014. Time to unload TC before real damage is done…what a sorry group

  9. kjs
    July 9, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    Collins is a baby-sitter for 2014. His job is to protect our prospects and assets. He failed with Harvey on July 3 and July 8. This is troubling.

  10. Jerry Grote
    July 10, 2013 at 11:40 am

    For what it’s worth, I have submitted this question to Metsblog on this topic.

    How can Terry Collins defend having Matt Harvey bat in the bottom of the sixth, when he had a blister, was pitching ineffectively, is likely under an innings pitched count, with the Mets up by a run and the entire pinch-hitting arsenal at his disposal … not to mention, that he could have done a double switch to improve the defense?

    • Name
      July 10, 2013 at 12:29 pm

      I too decided to submit a question on Metsblog.
      Mine however was regarding TC’s love of LOOGY’s and Rice. Over the 5 weeks he has a 9.00 ERA and only 8 innings pitched! Can you believe it?! 8 innings in 5 weeks! ridiculous.

      • Metsense
        July 10, 2013 at 2:04 pm

        How about this one, Why with a 5 run lead don’t you initiate your new rookie pitcher when he has a nice cushion if he makes a mistake? Or this one: why sit your rookie CF against LHP when he seems able to finally solve the major league hitting mystery?

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