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The Mets will start Matt Harvey on short rest, as if they’ve learned nothing |

The Mets will start Matt Harvey on short rest, as if they’ve learned nothing

Injuries to Major League pitchers, you may know, are a difficult thing to predict and a difficult thing to avoid: Every Major League pitcher is his own unique snowflake and every Major League arm is capable of tolerating its own specific workload before it loses its strength or breaks entirely, and you can follow every recommended medical guideline and enforce cautious innings limits and closely monitor arm action on every pitch to try to avoid injury and still see your prized ace land on the disabled list.

Or — or! — you could be the New York Mets, who consistently try to repair fine china by smashing it with a sledgehammer and then wonder why they’re short on formal dinnerware.


In April, recall, with Noah Syndergaard ailing, the Mets made Matt Harvey start a game on only three hours’ notice after he had worked out the night before. Syndergaard himself started a game only three days after telling reporters he couldn’t lift his arm above his head, lasted 1 1/3 innings in that game and remains on the disabled list to this day. Harvey owned a 2.84 ERA and a solid 17:5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in the (extremely small sample) of four starts before his surprise outing, then yielded a 6.60 ERA with a putrid 37:30 K:BB rate over nine starts until he landed on the disabled list with an injury in his throwing shoulder.

Though the Mets are long since out of the postseason race, Harvey finally returned on Saturday for a start against the Astros in Houston. He struggled, allowing seven earned runs in only two innings but throwing 70 pitches in his first game back.

So guess what the Mets are going to do. You’ll never guess!

Oh, c’mon!

Again, this is on behalf of a club with, according to Baseball Prospectus, a 0.0% chance of reaching the postseason. Since the trade deadline, the Mets have pretty clearly been operating with an eye on 2018 contention — the feasibility of which will largely be determined by the health of their battered starting rotation. So now, with an eye on keeping their still-sort-of-prized arms intact for the future, they’re going to start Matt Harvey on short rest after he got torched for seven runs in two innings in his first game back from a shoulder injury.

Why? Just, why?

And, look: Maybe Harvey feels great, and maybe he’s campaigning hard for that Wednesday start, and maybe the Mets have put him through a battery of tests and determined he should be good to go and stronger than ever. But the club has an increasingly long history of letting Harvey talk his way into pitching when he probably shouldn’t be pitching.

This, the latest incarnation of an ongoing theme, seems almost impossible to fathom, and harder still to justify.

 

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