The next episode of the Matt Harvey soap opera is scheduled for 1:10 Monday afternoon in an interleague contest against the White Sox, and Mets manager Terry Collins admitted that even he has no idea what to expect from a pitcher who has allowed at least five earned runs in three straight starts.
“I’m hoping that he relaxes,” Collins said. “I’m hoping that he just goes out and pitches like he knows how. Worry about making pitches, not so much about the mechanics. If your mind is worried about anything besides throwing the baseball, if you’re worried where your foot is landing or where your arm angle is, you’re going to have a tough time. We’ll keep a close eye on him.”
It might be tough for Harvey (3-7, 6.08 ERA) not to worry about mechanics. Collins confirmed an ESPN report that Mets coaches found a flaw in Harvey’s motion that they worked on during his last side session on Friday. “We did find something,” Collins said, “and that’s what we’re trying to fix.”
Collins said the staff has discussed a variety of scenarios for how to handle Harvey’s problems, which are not injury-related. He cited the toll taken last season by Harvey pitching more than 200 innings, including the intensity of postseason play. The manager expressed faith in Harvey to bounce back and regain his form as the season progresses.
It’s clear the Mets are loath to consider demoting Harvey to the minors to find his form. “This is a guy who started an All-Star Game a couple years ago and was one of the best in the game,” Collins said. “We’ve got to get this guy to perform here. I think we’ve got to wring the rag dry here.”
Asked how long he can go with Harvey working out his problems as part of the Mets’ rotation, Collins said, “I can’t answer that. All I know is he’s pitching [Monday].”
Harvey declined to speak with reporters before Sunday night’s game against the Dodgers.