The New York Mets are about to embark on the difficult task of trying to top one of baseball’s best teams, the Kansas City Royals, on baseball’s ultimate grand stage, the World Series. They will do so with Matt Harvey taking the ball for Game 1 against most likely Johnny Cueto on Tuesday night.
With a rotation so deep as the Mets, some have tried to ignite a debate about whether Harvey or Jacob deGrom should get the ball for the Series opener. Nothing could be more ironic. The Mets opened this 2015 season with the same question. Should Matt Harvey get the start on Opening Day, or should it be Bartolo Colon? The Mets went with Colon and that worked out just fine.
The reason Harvey didn’t get the ball on Opening Day had to do with the fact that manager Terry Collins was concerned that Harvey would be too amped considering it was his first start in over a year after Tommy John’s Surgey, but that didn’t change his opinion that Harvey was his go-to guy.
Harvey has shown that the pressure moment is something he can handle. He pitched brilliantly in the Mets NL East clincher at Cincinnati, and was even better in Game 1 of the NLCS against Chicago.
Harvey is a guy who prides himself on the big moment; he lives off of being the “Man” at the center of attention. When he and his agent Scott Boras floated out the “innings limit” controversy that rocked the clubhouse late in the regular season, all Harvey wanted to do was to make it up to the Mets for the PR gaff.
In addition, this would have been Harvey’s turn to start in the rotation anyway. If the Mets had lost to the Cubs in Game 4, Harvey would have had the ball in Game 5. He has only pitched twice in the postseason, meaning that when Harvey touches the mound in Kauffman stadium it will be his first start in 10 days.
Not to mention, deGrom has thrown a lot of innings this postseason, as compared to Harvey. deGrom did labor through his last two outings, with high pitch counts, and even threw 121 pitches in his first start against the Dodgers.
At the end of the day, there is really no wrong answer here for the Terry Collins. He has three starters he can easily go to for a Game 1 start of the World Series. In addition the Mets are assured that Harvey, deGrom and Noah Syndergaard will pitch twice in this series if it goes the distance. While Kansas City will be difficult, the Mets should like their chances with these three starters.
It should be a good one, and if Harvey wants to prove he is a $200 million man down the road, now is perfect stage to do just that.