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The unraveling of the Mets, Harvey style.

POSTED September 07, 2015
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON: Why, why, why was I foolish enough to start watching my favorite/torturous Mets more often over the past few weeks?

Didn’t I know that it was a mirage, that what I thought I was seeing was like watching what appears to be water on a desert road that will never quench my thirst, in this case for a baseball team that could be consistent enough and non-controversial enough to make a deep run in the playoffs?

Why did I buy the fact that when things seemed good, quicksand was waiting just around the next corner or in this case in our nation’s capital starting on Monday when we give back all the momentum and most of our division lead to a team that was playing bad minor league baseball for the longest time?

The Washington Nationals, for all their starting pitching featuring Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer, Jordan Zimmerman, Gio Gonzales and Doug Fister, had been playing like they had no motivation to do anything but hit the links after October 4, when the regular season ends.

Now though, thanks to the team from Queens losing three of their last four series, the Nats find themselves in a perfect position to get within a game if they can sweep the Mets at home the next three days.

It would return a favor New York gave Washington at the end of July and beginning of August when they swept the Nationals right out of Citi Field.

To top it off, we have the Matt Harvey mess.

Harvey is scheduled to pitch on Tuesday night against Zimmerman and after that, it’s any bodies guess how long he will throw from there based on the innings pitched debate that raised its ugly head this weekend at the worst possible time and in a way that makes the hard throwing righty look like a terrible teammate.

As everybody knows, Harvey is coming off Tommy John surgery, one that kept him on the sidelines all of 2014 and an innings limit was always in the mix.

As he prepares for the biggest start of his three year career, Harvey is just over 166 innings pitched in 25 starts this year, well on his way to surpassing the cap of 180 that has floated around since the start of the season.

At this pace, even if he skips two of his next five starts (if he stayed on a five days rest regiment) he will still end up between 184 and 190 innings before the postseason.

On a side note, wasn’t it great to watch 42-year old Bartolo Colon pitch a complete game on Saturday?

It was the only complete game the Mets have registered in 136 games, amazing.

Had to love that behind the back flip to first as well though, didn’t you?

I have no issue with the innings limit, the Nats shut down Strasburg after he reached the limits even though it cost them in the post-season.

What has come off badly has been the timing and tone of the discussion, especially once super –agent Scott Boras got involved.

Instead of fully focusing on whatever it takes to support his teammates at a time in which they are struggling, Harvey comes off as a guy just worrying about his own hide, regardless of the effect it has on the team.

Harvey’s persona has always been a larger than life perception, I’m not sure he has done anything close to deserving that title but in New York, you can run with it.

In August, Harvey was very good, except in his last start against the Phillies in which he gave up nine hits and four runs in an eventual win but he struggled.

We were told dehydration was the after effects of that performance.

Superman doesn’t get dehydrated, but I digress.

For an organization that did some good work at the trade deadline (enough to get me to buy tickets for the next to the last game against the Nats on October 3) to acquire Kelly Johnson Juan Uribe and especially Joenis Cespedes, they certainly didn’t need any of this.

Well run organizations don’t allow a player, even one like Harvey, to be bigger than the team and in this case it certainly has.

New York starts a critical stretch on Monday with Jon Niese going against Scherzer, not exactly awe inspiring for Mets fans who have watched Niese implode over his last four starts in which he is giving up what seems to be six runs or more per game.

On Tuesday, Harvey, now more villain than super hero in some fans eyes, will take the ball and try to defuse a match he lit himself.

When a player makes the game more about him than his team, it changes things.

It’s going to take Harvey a while to regain his rock star image, if he even can, with a New York fan base that simply wants to get back to playing baseball into the second week of October.

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