When the Mets skipped Matt Harvey's start on August 23, it appeared to be a one-off move to rest the ace while saving him from Coors Field. Yet Terry Collins admitted that they will likely skip him again this season, with doctors advising him "not to exceed 180 innings."
If the Mets take that quota seriously, they'll need to wield a quick hook or leapfrog the 26-year-old righty twice. Harvey, who has a 2.48 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in his first year back from Tommy John surgery, has already logged 160 innings. He has looked especially crisp lately, allowing two runs with 33 strikeouts and just two walks over his past five starts. That includes six scoreless frames of two-hit ball following his recent skipped start.
As noted by SNY's Andrew Vazzano, the Mets haven't worn Harvey too thin through those innings. He has averaged a responsible 98 pitches per start, and it's odd to imagine doctors fixating over an innings count rather than the actual labor expended over that time.
According to Newsday's Marc Carig, pitching coach Dan Warthen is not only open to preserving Harvey, but also intimated interest in giving Jacob deGrom a breather. The reigning National League Rookie of the Year, who underwent the Tommy John procedure himself in 2010, tossed 178.2 professional innings last year and is currently sitting on 163.
Both aces are lined up to face the Washington Nationals next week, so that series could dictate the team's September pitching plans. Expanding their lead on the Nationals could justify the organization's thinking ahead to October and beyond, especially after Logan Verrett dazzled in his last spot start. Resting their young arms during a tight race, however, will prove a tougher sell.