So maybe Logan Verrett isn't a way better pitcher than Matt Harvey after all.
But for the second time this week, Verrett was on the mound when Harvey wanted to be.
Verrett pitched a gem last Sunday, holding the Rockies to one run in eight innings, as the Mets skipped Harvey's start to limit his innings in his first season after Tommy John surgery. After that game, Verrett said he joked with Harvey about how there's no reason for people to be freaking out because "don't they know I'm a way better pitcher than you are?"
He sure wasn't on Friday night as the Mets fell to the Red Sox, 6-4, in 10 innings.
Harvey, pitching on 11 days' rest, allowed two hits, walked one and struck out eight in six shutout innings. Verrett relieved him and promptly allowed two home runs and three runs in the seventh as the Red Sox took a 3-2 lead.
"I felt pretty good," Harvey said. "Definitely felt refreshed. It's one of those things where you have some time off and you feel really good and just finding a rhythm was a little tough."
Which is why, with his pitch count at 103, Harvey was replaced by Verrett to start the seventh. Though Harvey wanted to remain in the game, Terry Collins wouldn't allow it.
"He was rusty, you could see that in the beginning," Collins said. "That's why his pitch count got to where it was. He wanted to throw another inning and I was just, 'We can't do it. That's why we gave you the time off.' "
Collins did say that if it had been a postseason game, things would have been different.
"Playoff situation," he said, "he's still in the game."
But he wasn't on Friday, and it might have cost the Mets the victory.
David Ortiz sent Verrett's first pitch over the fence in left-centerfield to cut the Mets' lead to 2-1. Verrett then allowed a two-run home run by Jackie Bradley Jr. that gave the Red Sox a 3-2 lead. Harvey's gem was wasted.
Harvey now has allowed one or fewer runs in 31 career starts yet hasn't earned a win in 17 of those outings.
Harvey (11-7, 2.48 ERA) had allowed only two earned runs in 282/3 innings in his previous four starts before being skipped in the rotation.
"Obviously, I was kind of in a groove there before the skipped start and things felt good," he said. "But I think the way the ball was coming out tonight, and just overall, it was definitely fresh, I can tell you that. But as far as command-wise, I think I threw too many pitches, in my mind. In a close ballgame like that, I feel like I need to be out there for the seventh, and unfortunately, I just couldn't quite keep the pitch count down."
Though he may have been disappointed with Collins' decision to go to the bullpen after the sixth, the occasionally outspoken Harvey understood the decision.
"I know I had that much time off, but we have a couple of important games coming up and obviously the rest of September," Harvey said. "The big picture is going forward, and although I wanted to stay out there, it was ultimately his call. And hopefully those innings saved can keep us playing into October."