Entering what would turn out to be the division-clinching game for the Mets in Cincinnati yesterday, questions swirled about how long Matt Harvey would be able to pitch. He had exited his last outing against the Yankees after just five innings and 77 pitches, a game in which he allowed no runs and just one hit. His innings count stood at 176.1, hovering just below the prescribed 180-inning cap that Harvey's agent Scott Boras had mentioned a few weeks ago.
So how long would Harvey be on the hill against the Reds as the Mets attempted to clinch their first division title since 2006? It turns out that Harvey approached manager Terry Collins last Tuesday with a new plan. Harvey told Collins that he wanted to throw 100 pitches twice before the season ended. Harvey said to Collins, "We're going to win this thing and I'm going to pitch in the playoffs, and I've got to be ready. And I'm not ready."
Harvey took the ball against the Reds. He delivered 97 pitches over 6.2 innings, allowing two runs on nine hits. He didn't walk a batter and struck out six. The Mets' offense erupted for seven runs in the first three innings and Harvey was able to coast through the Reds' lineup. When Collins removed Harvey from the game with two outs the seventh, a smile could be seen on Harvey's face, a huge change from the frustrated look he had after leaving the game against the Yankees.
As the Mets prepare for their first postseason in nine years, they can be confident that Harvey will be ready. Pitching coach Dan Warthen further explained Harvey's plan for the rest of the season. "He said he wants to go 100 pitches every five days the rest of the way," Warthen said. With a likely first-round matchup against the Los Angeles Dodgers and their two ace pitchers, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, the Mets will be quite pleased to have one of their aces ready to try and get them to the World Series.