For all the talk about Matt Harvey's innings this season, the lasting image will be of an inning he started and didn't finish: the ninth inning of Game 5 of the World Series.
Because he faced two batters and did not record an out in the ninth, that inning will not appear officially in Harvey's total of 216 in the regular season and postseason. According to ESPN, that's the most any pitcher ever has thrown in the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Leading 2-0, Harvey walked Kansas City's Lorenzo Cain and gave up an RBI double to Eric Hosmer before Terry Collins called on Jeurys Familia. The tying run later scored on Hosmer's mad dash to the plate and the Mets lost in 12 innings, 7-2, as the Royals won their first World Series crown since 1985.
The Mets understandably were disappointed with the outcome of the game and series. But for Harvey, 2015 has to be considered a rousing success.
And next year: no innings limits.
"I think it's going to take a couple of days," Harvey said of assessing his season. "Obviously, it's a tough loss for all of us. I think looking back, it's going to take a couple of days to go over everything, but this team's been awesome to play for, play with, and it's all been such an honor."
With the innings-limit issue hanging over his head all season, Harvey made 29 regular-season starts and four more in the postseason. In the regular season, he was 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA. In the postseason, he was 2-0, 3.04.
A lot of the debate after Game 5 was about Harvey convincing Collins to let him go back out for the ninth and the way that decision blew up in the Mets' faces. But to Harvey, it shouldn't have even been a question. He wanted the ball.
"I wasn't going to let the innings limit or the tempo of how the season's been played out with all of that stuff get in the way," Harvey said. "For me, it was easy to go back out there inning after inning."
It was what the fans in the ballpark wanted. They reacted with unbridled glee when Harvey sprinted to the mound to begin the ninth and gave him a standing ovation when he was removed.
"They were awesome," Harvey said. "They were awesome all year. It was a blast to be out there. I had so much fun. It was incredible. The energy was incredible. But unfortunately, I just couldn't finish what I started."
The same could be said for the Mets. But with their nucleus of young starting pitching, there's a good chance they'll get another shot in the years to come.
"It's unbelievable," Harvey said. "The confidence we have going into the offseason -- it's going to be a short one -- but I think with the experience we have, the guys who are coming back, I know I am for sure gearing up for next year and excited to return with these guys."