Anthony Rieber has been at Newsday since Aug. 31, 1998 and in his current position since 2004. Show More
Here's part of the boxscore from Sunday night's Mets-Yankees game:
W -- Scott Boras.
L -- Common Sense.
You'll notice Matt Harvey's name isn't listed in the win column. He got a no-decision on a night when the Mets made the wrong decision in a painful 11-2 loss to the Yankees.
Bowing to agent Scott Boras' wishes, the Mets made the scientifically unfounded call to remove Harvey after five brilliant innings and 77 pitches with a 1-0 lead.
Guess what happened next? Right. In the very first inning after Harvey's early, nonsensical departure, the Yankees scored five runs against Hansel Robles.
"It was the perfect storm," manager Terry Collins said. "You couldn't set it up any worse than it was."
Harvey threw five innings. Gave up one infield hit. Walked one. Struck out seven. It was the Dark Knight at his best. His last pitch was 95 miles per hour. He made the Yankees look like minor-leaguers.
None of that mattered. What you saw with your own eyes on the baseball field didn't matter. What the Mets needed as they try to nail down the National League East against the suddenly showing-late-signs-of-life Nationals didn't matter.
All that mattered was a line on a chart somewhere that said Harvey could only go five innings -- not six, good heavens not seven -- because of some unproven benefits that might come his way in the postseason, or next year, or after he leaves the Mets as a free agent following the 2018 season.
Ridiculous. Arrogant. Unfortunate.
"More than anything, I wanted to be out there," Harvey said. "The way things were going, the tight game, the last thing I wanted to do was come out."
It was The Dark Knight at his worst. Saying things that could not possibly be further from the truth:
"Tonight, I wanted to be out there more than anything. The last thing I want to do is not play and not pitch."
"For me, I know where I want to be and that's on the mound and in a Mets uniform."
"The last thing I want to do is not play and not pitch, especially if we get into the postseason."
For not accepting responsibility, for putting his manager and teammates in the unenviable position of having to live within the limits that Harvey and Boras put in motion, and for saying he wants to be out there when he engineered the exact opposite situation, Harvey should be nominated for an Emmy for Best Actor in a Comedy Series.
Only no one in the Mets clubhouse is laughing.
Asked if he blamed the team or player for this situation, one of Harvey's teammates said: "You don't think the Mets want one of the best pitchers in baseball out there?"
Even captain David Wright, who was so adamant that the Harvey situation would not be a distraction, seemed confused by what happened Sunday night.
"I guess that's going to be the plan," Wright said. "We'll figure it out and adjust accordingly . . . It's not ideal."
Wright, by the way, once played with a broken back. Mark Teixeira played in two games recently on an undiagnosed fractured leg.
Look, trying to keep pitchers healthy in their first year after Tommy John surgery is serious business, and there's no doubt the Mets have had good intentions when it comes to Harvey.
They were humming along with a reasonable innings-limits plan all season -- or at least thought they were -- until Boras fired the Shot Heard 'Round the Mets' World on the Friday before Labor Day.
Plain as day, Boras said the Mets would be putting Harvey "in peril" if they let him throw more than 180 innings. A serious charge. But the agent backtracked within a day and he, the Mets, Harvey and Harvey's doctor eventually came up with a new plan.
That's some of the smartest people in their fields -- Boras, Dr. James Andrews, Sandy Alderson.
Based on Sunday night, though, Mets fans would have been better off if those guys from "Dumb and Dumber" came up with the latest Harvey innings-limit plan.
The current plan had Harvey starting only occasionally and then going only five innings. Forget that he was dominating. Forget that the Mets held a fragile one-run lead. Forget that the Nationals had already won and the Mets were in jeopardy of seeing their division lead drop to six games with two weeks left in the regular season.
No, Harvey had to hit the showers after five. Even though there is zero proof that extending him one more inning would change anything in terms of protecting him from future injuries.
The ebb and flow of the game demanded that the Mets let Harvey go at least one more inning. We're not saying he should have been left out there for a David Cone-like 166 pitches. Those days are gone forever.
But no team in baseball can hand a one-run lead to its bullpen against a prospective playoff team such as the Yankees and ask for four shutdown innings. That it all blew up against the inexperienced Robles in the sixth was not a shock.
The shock was that the Mets agreed to this cockamamie plan in the first place.
And Collins, who held his tongue as best he could after the game, said it was "possible" that Harvey's final two starts of the regular season could be even shorter than five innings.
"I want you to understand something," Collins said. "This kid's still a tremendous competitor."
Then let him compete. Or send him home.