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Friday, September 18, 2015

Should Mets and Yanks shut down starting pitchers Harvey, Syndergaard, deGrom, Severino?

The second place Yankees start an important three game city series tonight in Citi Field against the first place Mets.  It would be more dramatic if the two New York teams were in the same division but they're not even in the same conference.  Maybe they can meet again in the tournament finals.

Re-alignment: it's time to revisit. Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Starting pitchers tonight:
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka, 143 innings
Mets: Stephen Matz, 24 major league, 105 minor league innings

Tanaka missed time on the disabled list (DL) for the second consecutive season.  He's trying to avoid the "Tommy John" surgery that was had by teammates Ivan Nova (relegated to the bullpen after 75 innings) and Nathan Eovaldi, who had his surgery while in high school and is currently on the DL after 154 innings.

The most famous New York pitcher, other than Tommy John himself, to have the elbow surgery is Mets star Matt Harvey, who missed all of 2014 after having the operation in October, 2013.  Harvey is scheduled to start the final game against the Yankees Sunday night.  Harvey has thrown 171 innings in 2015 and last pitched Sept. 8 in Washington, so he'll have plenty of rest.

Matt Harvey and Michael Pineda: shut down like Stephen Strasburg? Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Stephen Strasburg was shut down a few years ago so that he would not throw too many innings and pitches too soon in his career...
Photo of Stephen Strasburg
Strasburg has seemed to have generally benefited.  In 2014 Strasburg led the National Conference in starts (34) and strike outs (242), throwing 215 innings.

I am assuming that teams are counting pitches for the season but to keep this simple I'm using innings...


Strasburg has progressed each of the last three years in innings and innings per start...

With the extra wild card introduced in recent seasons a team can be competitive to qualify for the tournament with about 85 wins in the final week of the season.  Both teams will be very tempted to go all out to qualify and sitting their ace when he is needed most will be a hard decision...

Let's say that the Mets and/or Yankees are ready to play in the opening round.  That's even more innings for Harvey and Pineda.  Do the teams continue to push them? ..

What the New York teams could and probably should have done is what Washington should have done with Strasburg when they knew that he would be limited in innings and pitches.  They should have them report at least two months after the normal start of spring training.  Then be prepared to begin pitching for the big league team about June 1.  That resolves all the issues, including extending them into the tournament.

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Strasburg has been on the DL twice in 2015 due to neck and side injuries but not his pitching arm.

Matt Harvey, who's your daddy? Saturday, September 5, 2015

Matt Harvey needs a grownup to protect him from himself.  Adult athletes will still act with childlike enthusiasm and try to play when they should not.  Right now there's too much irresponsible emotion trending against Harvey's best interests...

So far, I see no villains, except for the usual media types who are running their mouths about how Harvey should pitch even if Harvey has a doctor's note excusing him from work...

Mets management's excuse for getting caught in this predicament: hey, we thought we sucked.

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Met fans, have you got Matt Harvey's back? Saturday, September 5, 2015

What's good for Matt Harvey is good for the Mets...

Are Met fans expecting Harvey to pitch when he should be shut down for his and the Mets protection because they dislike Harvey's agent?

Noah SyndergaardJacob deGrom and Matt Harvey on August 10, 2015 by slgckgc, via Wikimedia Commons
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Reason for Matt Harvey mess: Mets expected to suck. Sunday, September 6, 2015

The hysteria is becoming comical.  Apparently neither Met fans nor Met general manager Sandy Alderson are supporting Matt Harvey ...

Mets management drifted along and if Harvey needed to be shut down in August, they would simply shut Harvey down.  Who would care?  By then the team would be out of contention.  But the Mets were not prepared for success.  That goes for both management and fans.

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Matt Harvey may have company in being shut down: Noah Syndergaard. Tuesday, September 8, 2015

But while Met fans are crushing Harvey for waiting too long to deal with his season ending limits, they seem to have overlooked a comparable situation for rookie Noah Syndergaard...

What if the Mets qualify for the tournament but two of their starting pitchers need to be shut down?  Whatever will the Mets do? ...

It's not about what Matt Harvey said or did earlier in the season.  It's not about Harvey's agent.  It's not even about the Mets qualifying for the tournament.  It's about Matt Harvey having a note from his doctor excusing him from work after another 14 innings.

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Would Matt Harvey pitch again if Mets were out of contention? Wednesday, September 9, 2015

No.  It's pretty obvious that the only reason the Mets are not protecting Matt Harvey from himself is that the Mets have a short sighted objective of qualifying for the 2015 tournament and making the extra money associated with that, including more season tickets sold during the winter for 2016.


Harvey has now thrown 172.66 of his doctor defined limit of 180 innings.  Who in his/her right mind really thinks that Mets ownership, management and fans would be pushing for Harvey to pitch any more in 2015 were it not for the tournament?  James Andrews, you know, the one who actually went to the doctor school, has set 180 innings, give or take, as a cautionary practical limit, pitch count not withstanding.
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Luis Severino: should he be shut down? Saturday, September 12, 2015

Luis Severino is probably the most valuable young player in the Yankee organization...

Even if Severino pitches a couple more games and gets close to 150 innings, there is no way the Yankees should have Severino continue to pitch in the tournament.

So, Yankee fans, are you more responsible than Met fans were with Harvey?  Are you willing to forgo the wild card game in exchange for better days ahead?

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Only 42 year old Bartolo Colon has pitched more innings than 27 year old Mets ace Jacob deGrom.  Actually only one: 182 to 181.  deGrom threw 140 innings in 2014 and was Rookie if the Year.  deGrom has been bombed in two of his last five starts and may be wearing down.  Being six years older than Severino deGrom may be more mature and better able to handle his increased work load.  In the minors deGrom threw 111 innings in 2012 and 147 in 2013.

So, what to do?  Nothing is the easiest and that's probably what both teams will do, especially since the fans could care less about any long term impact or the well being of the players either physically or financially.  Matt Harvey is finally on the verge of being paid big bucks.  For 2015 the Mets are paying Harvey $614,125, good money for normal people but peanuts for a baseball player in his position.  If Mets management wanted to ensure that Harvey go all out this season, they should have offered him a multi-year contract.  Let's say it was for five years at $20 million per year.  Harvey would then have the financial security to risk injury and possibly a second "Tommy John" surgery.  But even the Mets fans would balk at that and figure it was the motive of Harvey's despised agent all along.  Maybe.  But that doesn't mean it doesn't make sense.

So we'll sit back and enjoy the games as the players risk all for their enrichment and our entertainment.  And the glory of qualifying for the tournament and possibly even advancing past the first round.

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