Wednesday is young virtuoso Matt Harvey's day to pitch for the Mets. Which meant that Tuesday was a time to mull how the mere anticipation of a Harvey outing might affect manager Terry Collins' strategy.
"I know he's a story,'' Collins said before Tuesday night's's 4-0 loss to the Reds. "I know all through baseball people are fixed on him right now. But I can't worry about who I save for [today], or say to myself, 'Well, Matt's going to give us eight [innings], so I can burn my bullpen out.''
Collins used three relievers Tuesday night. Before the game, he said he would think about Wednesday "when I get up in the morning. If I get up in the morning.''
With Harvey (5-0, 1.55 ERA) averaging more than seven innings per appearance in his nine starts this year, Collins also refused to concern himself with the 24-year-old's potential workload over the season and whether the Mets eventually might consider imposing a total innings limit.
"It's May,'' Collins said. "I don't know what's going to happen in September. I just want him to give me eight innings of shutout [today].''
Shuffling deck again
Another night, another lineup for the Mets, with Mike Baxter replacing Marlon Byrd in rightfield and replacing Rick Ankiel at No. 2 in the batting order, while Ankiel was moved down to fifth. Daniel Murphy, for a third game, was in the leadoff spot that has so vexed Collins.
"We've tried guys there who are aggressive, we've tried guys there who are patient, we've tried one of the top hitters in the game, who's there now,'' Collins said. "We're not getting on base. And I don't have an answer, except to try to keep them relaxed.''
Ideally, shortstop Ruben Tejada would be leading off, Collins said, "if he were giving us the at-bats we saw last year.'' But he hit .114 in his previous 10 games.