Matt Harvey must have been pretty tired to actually admit he was tired after Saturday's 3-0 loss to the Tigers. So the Mets know they have to go into full protect mode on the phenom's innings the rest of the season.
Harvey, 24, has thrown a career-high 1781/3 innings -- already eight more than he had in 2012 in the majors and minors combined. His next scheduled start is Thursday afternoon against the Phillies at Citi Field on normal rest, but it's possible he will be on a pitch count.
"You've got a guy who is one of the best competitors I've ever been around who thoroughly wants to pitch nine innings every night he's out there," manager Terry Collins said Sunday. "Yet you've got to take into consideration what's the best interest of the club, the team at the time, and the organization down the road. How to get this guy through it?"
Collins mentioned limiting Harvey's pitches in games and lessening his between-starts work. The Mets likely will give him extra days off between outings after Thursday, as they have been doing for the last few weeks.
"You're trying to win games, we're trying to put people in the seats out there, and having Matt Harvey out there every five days helps us," Collins said. "We still know down the road we've got to keep this guy healthy.''
Despite getting swept, the Mets are 10-7 in interleague play with one more series left: Sept. 6-8 at Cleveland . . . Lucas Duda, recalled on Saturday, walked as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning . . . Wilmer Flores got the day off as Justin Turner started at third base. Collins said he wanted to rest Flores' ankle and plans to give him a day at second base this week if he's moving around well enough.