LOS ANGELES - Corks flying, bubbly spraying, Matt Harvey stood inside the celebratory Mets clubhouse Thursday night and already was amped to take the mound in 48 hours at Citi Field for Game 1 of the NLCS against the Cubs.
"Oh, man, it's awesome," Harvey said. "We're obviously excited right now, and we'll regroup tomorrow. But I can't wait. We're all excited to go back home, and we have a lot of confidence going into this series."
What a difference a month makes. Back in September, any conversation about Harvey centered around innings limits and how that increasing workload could shut him down before the postseason even began.
But after Harvey's NLDS Game 3 start, a five-inning stint at Citi Field, he's at 1941/3 innings for the year and seems to have no intention of slowing down.
Harvey is tentatively scheduled to take the ball twice against the Cubs, if the series goes long enough, and came close to appearing in relief in the Mets' 3-2 victory over the Dodgers in NLDS Game 5 Thursday night.
On the team's charter to the West Coast, Harvey told Terry Collins he wanted to be available out of the bullpen. And with Jacob deGrom struggling early, the possibility entered the manager's mind. But deGrom made it through six innings with a 3-2 lead, and Collins instead went with Noah Syndergaard to set up the two-inning save for Jeurys Familia.
"If we were going to go to extra innings, [Harvey] would have got into the game," Collins said. "I told him that [Wednesday].''
In Monday night's Game 3, a 13-7 Mets win, Harvey allowed seven hits and three runs (two earned). He struck out seven with two walks, using a fastball that averaged 96.4 mph with a 98.2 max, according to Pitchf/x.
While there had been near hysteria over Harvey's workload coming off Tommy John surgery, those fears seem to be shelved for now. And Harvey is driving the narrative.
"All 25 guys are doing their part to stay focused," he said after Thursday night's win. "Show a lot of heart and get things done. I think it showed down the stretch."
Harvey got stopped mid-sentence by another blast of champagne and couldn't finish the thought. But it sounds as if he wants to avoid an abrupt ending to what is turning into a magic Mets playoff run.