Whether Matt Harvey's tardiness to the Mets' workout Tuesday was an isolated incident or a sign of larger issues, the team must keep a close eye -- and tight leash -- on the young pitcher, according to Turner studio analyst, former Mets pitcher and Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez.
"I think Harvey is at an age and time in baseball where you can still hold the leash," Martinez said on a conference call with reporters Wednesday, suggesting manager Terry Collins say words to this effect to Harvey:
"Hey, I know you're a big horse, you have a lot of blood, you want to run your race, but no. I'm the jockey right here and I'm going to hold you. This is our race and we wait for the rest of the horses."
Added Martinez, "You still have plenty of time to hold the leash on Harvey. Management and everybody needs to get together to hold the leash a little bit and get him straight."
Martinez said Harvey still deserves the benefit of the doubt if he has no prior history of lateness. But still . . .
"David Wright I know is probably going to get in his face and say, 'Hey, are you in or are you out?' " Martinez said.
Gary Sheffield, another Turner analyst, said Harvey seemed to be pushing limits that a young player should not test.
"They should have handled this a long time ago; these things are starting to pile up now," Sheffield said. "Now you see him starting to get away with things that shouldn't happen with a young player. He's doing veteran moves, if anybody can get away with it, but veterans don't even do this."
Dusty Baker, a former major- league manager and a Turner studio analyst, said when he managed his "No. 1 rule" was not being late for work.
"You have to handle it now when he's young, because what's going to happen later on?" Baker said. "Also you have his other teammates looking at you to see how you're going to handle it."
Turner will take its turn this year carrying the National League Division and Championship Series, a far more favorable position in ratings terms than Fox has with fewer marquee attractions on the American League side.
It begins Friday night, with the Mets visiting the Dodgers.
"I think it's going to be exciting," Martinez said of a series that figures to be dominated by pitching. "I'll tell you what: I believe Clayton Kershaw is due to have a big postseason. The Mets coming over away from New York and playing in L.A., where I think the Dodgers play a lot more comfortable than on the road, I think it's going to be exciting to see.
"I would have loved to see Kershaw against Harvey, but [Jacob] deGrom is not an easy task at all. It's going to be really exciting to see how this young group of pitchers evolves around the playoffs."
Martinez said that with scoring likely to be at a premium, "It's probably going to go to fundamentals -- who plays the small-ball better . . . I hope the series goes down to pitching and fundamentals instead of having a slugfest."
Asked to identify a young player who might end up determining the outcome of a division series, Martinez named the Mets' Game 2 starter, Noah Syndergaard.
"He could become big, because right now deGrom against Kershaw is an uphill battle," Martinez said.