After all the off-field drama, Matt Harvey will be right in the center of the kind of on-field drama he has always dreamed of: starting Game 1 of the World Series.
Manager Terry Collins announced Saturday that Harvey will front the Mets' rotation against the American League champion Kansas City Royals in the World Series, which begins Tuesday night at picturesque Kauffman Stadium.
Harvey will be followed by Jacob deGrom in Game 2. Rookies Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz will start Games 3 and 4 at Citi Field on Friday night and Saturday night.
That leaves Harvey, deGrom and Syndergaard lined up to pitch Games 5-7 if they are needed.
"We like going into Kansas City with our Nos. 1 and 2 guys," Collins said during the Mets' final workout at Citi Field before they head to Kansas City on Sunday morning. "Noah has pitched great at home. We thought that's a good mix. And obviously we think Steven Matz showed us -- even though it hasn't been the depth into the games like he's going to do in the future -- for four or five innings, he's been pretty good."
The World Series starting assignment in front of the home fans caps a meteoric rise for the former Ward Melville star. Matz started once in each of the first two rounds, including a 42/3-inning stint in the series-clinching Game 4 win over the Cubs in the NLCS.
The other rotation storylines (in reverse order):
In Game 3, Syndergaard will be starting the Mets' first-ever World Series game at Citi Field and the franchise's first World Series home game since Game 5 of the 2000 Subway Series against the Yankees.
In Game 2, deGrom will bring his 3-0 postseason record to Kauffman Stadium. In recent days, Collins has expressed concern about deGrom's workload this postseason. He has thrown more innings this year than at any other point in his life.
In Game 1 there is, of course, Harvey. The Dark Knight's comeback season from Tommy John surgery has been mostly magical when he's been on the mound, but it's been rocky off it because of endless innings-limits chatter and Harvey's ability to draw attention to himself for things other than his pitching.
On Tuesday, it'll all be about the pitching.
"I called them all in today," Collins said. "Gave them all the reasons for what the rotation was. I turned to Matt. I said, 'You ready for it?' And he looked at me and he said, 'Damn right.' "
Collins also told Harvey to be ready for a possible relief role in Game 7.
"I told him, 'Listen, obviously, you're going to get two starts,' " Collins said. " 'Game 7 may be something.' He said, 'I'll be ready.' That's the only guy I know. I know the persona is something else, but that's the only guy I know."
The Royals' rotation has not yet been announced. Kansas City finished a hard-fought ALCS on Friday night with a 4-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 6.
The Royals are expected to start a quartet of righthanders: Johnny Cueto, Yordano Ventura, Edinson Volquez and former Met Chris Young.