After an incredible first half of the season, the New York Mets are going to give Matt Harvey a little rest by skipping his final start before the All-Star break. It’s never ideal to sit down an ace like Harvey, but the Mets are making the right move by skipping his turn in the rotation at this point in the season.
The reasoning behind skipping Harvey is twofold. First, it gives Harvey some time to recover from a blister that’s been bothering him for his last few starts, keeping him from dominating opponents the way he did earlier in the season. Second, it will help keep Harvey’s innings down, which is a tightrope the Mets will have to walk with Harvey throughout the second half of the season.
Harvey has pitched 130 innings so far this season, and after pitching 169 innings between triple-A and the majors last season, the Mets aren’t likely to allow Harvey to accumulate much more than 200 innings this season. This could limit Harvey to between 70 and 80 innings for the rest of the season.
The Mets may be forced to shut down Harvey at some point this season, assuming they remain out of contention, just as they did last year. But the longer they can delay doing that, the better.
When it comes to Harvey, skipping a start every now and then may be preferable to limiting how many innings he can throw per outing. The latter method would allow Harvey to make more starts, but a player with the competitive fire of Harvey shouldn’t be removed from a game before he’s ready, which means it’s better to not let him pitch at all than to pull him from a start early.
The caveat to skipping Harvey now is how it will affect his availability for the MLB All-Star Game. There’s a strong case for Harvey to start the game in front of the home crowd at Citi Field, but it would be somewhat hypocritical of the Mets to hold Harvey out of a start to curb his innings and help his blister, but then allow him to pitch for the National League.
It’d be a small risk to let Harvey pitch an inning or two in the All-Star Game and it would be a great gesture to allow fans to see Harvey pitch at home in the Midsummer Classic, but the hypocrisy is hard to look past and will give the Mets a tough decision to make.
Whether or not Harvey ultimately pitches in the All-Star Game is yet to be determined. In either case, the Mets are making the right move to skip Havey’s next start; like it or not, the Mets will have to cut down on his innings at some point this season and with a blister that’s slowed him down in his last few starts, now is as good a time as any.