The Mets may be mystified by the sudden downturn in Matt Harvey's performance in his first year back from Tommy John surgery, but manager Terry Collins is certain of one thing. Asked if he might move Harvey's next start back after the worst outing of his career, Collins laughed uproariously.
"Oh, that's what I need," Collins said Thursday, referring to the blowback from Harvey over the short-lived six-man rotation. "I need to go through that one more time. No, he'll get his five days and be back out there."
Collins said Harvey and pitching coach Dan Warthen looked at tape of Wednesday night's loss to determine what adjustments Harvey might need to make. But Collins said Harvey still has his good stuff even if he can't command it right now and suggested the problem might be as much mental as physical.
"I just want him to be the Matt Harvey he was," Collins said. "Don't get caught up in the persona. Get caught up in the individual and who you are and what made the persona what it is. Be that guy. Not everybody is perfect. You're going to make mistakes, but find that fire again that made you so successful."
At the same time, Collins doesn't discount the possibility of a "hangover effect," though he admitted it was unexpected after Harvey's hot start. Collins said he spoke with John Smoltz, who was at Citi Field last night for MLB Network, and he confirmed Tommy John hangover is real. "I'm going to relay that to Matt, and if I need to, I'm going to have John Smoltz relay that to Matt," he said.
Ultimately, Collins said Harvey must learn to handle the first real adversity of his career. "This is his first bump," he said. "This game has been easy for Matt Harvey. Now he's going to be tested. You're going to get humbled. Now, how do you fix it? That's where Matt is at right now."