My afternoon started with superconducting paste smeared on my head, electrical nodes attached, and a storage bank slung over my shoulder, connected to my head with about 50 thin wires. So either way, it wasn’t going to be the best day.
Then Matt Harvey burned out again. I suppose I should have seen that coming.
Reactions immediately started buzzing as soon as Harvey left after the fifth, having given up five runs, all via the long ball. What would we — that is to say, the Mets — do? Send him down? DL him? Put him in the bullpen?
(Well, I didn’t hear anyone suggest that last one besides my dad, and I only mention it because of how heartily I disagreed with it. But I suppose everything’s on the table at this point).
I can’t help but be swayed by the parallels drawn between the year that Harvey’s having and the 2015 season of — who else — Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg’s E.R.A. was above 6.00 when he hit the disabled list. After his return, for the remainder of the season, it was 1.76. Fast forward to today, he’s 8-0, E.R.A. under 3.00, and the Nationals feel confident enough in his future to sign him to a 7 year, $175 million contract.
Ooh, what I’d give for that kind of confidence right now.
So, I’m for DLing him. We’ve got Ray Ramirez on staff, after all: the main upside of that is that we’ve got pretty much free reign to misdiagnose players with injuries they may or may not have, prescribe treatments that may simply be three weeks of rest, then reevaluate an arm that, with rest, could very easily get over the fatigue that’s obviously dogging it right now.
It was all over the radio as we drove home, my head wrapped in mountains of gauze, an brain monitoring computer slung over my shoulder — I took a pitcher and captioned it #EpilepsyPerks — and surgical tape scratching at my ears: Harvey is fatigued. It’s hardly a crazy statement to make: Harvey, in 2015, pitched the most dominant season after Tommy John surgery of all time, and then continued to pitch through the World Series, which meant more innings and less time off. I wouldn’t call it outlandish to say that Harvey’s arm might just need a few weeks of rest.
So you DL him. You put him on the 15 with something like arm fatigue or general malaise (I can’t help but remember John Sterling’s immortally stupid line, delivered in complete, deadpan seriousness: “General malaise? I think I had him in the army.”), and you shut him down for a few weeks. I’m no doctor, so I can’t tell you whether you throw twelve pitches one day, rest for two, fifteen the next, whatever it is. But I can tell you that Harvey’s arm looks like it just needs some time to rest and regroup. And for me, that means pitching less, not continuing to pitch regularly.
And if we’re honest, who wants to see Harvey in the minors anyway? If it’s a beleaguered arm, which I think it is, there’s no need to send the Dark Knight mucking around the dessert in an overheated bus with the Las Vegas 51s when some simple rest could fix him. No one really wants to see Matt Harvey in the minors, pitching to no-names to regain some sense of his pitching self. He’s the Dark Knight, our former and future hero: let him maintain some semblance of dignity.
And finally, it’s the PCL, where the ball flies out of the yard like there’s no tomorrow. For a pitcher with a confidence issue, it’s not your best bet.
So really, let’s DL him. Shut him down for a few weeks, and then give him a hero’s welcome. Nice and simple, all there is to it.
Meanwhile, as Harvey’s start blew up in his face, Cespedes continued driving the ball harder than anyone can imagine, Eric Campbell somehow hit a home run, and Dusty Baker lost a challenge of a Neil Walker potentially illegal slide, reminding me that even in our darkest hours, this team never fails to provide its share of entertaining moments. So then, until tomorrow, when Matz takes the mound, and order resumes.