How Many Innings Should Matt Harvey Pitch In 2016?

The 2015 New York Mets season has been a roller coaster ride to say the least, and it doesn’t look like it is slowing down anytime soon. In April, the Mets got off to a hot start, going on an early 10 game winning streak and taking an early lead in the NL East; however, some key injuries occurred, and the fast start was quickly washed away. For most of June and July the Mets played well under .500 baseball and had by far the worst offense in the majors. They were in need of a major boost.

Just two days before the trade deadline the Mets had supposedly pulled off a trade to land Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez for Wilmer Flores and Zach Wheeler. When the news had broke mid game, Flores was emotional and was crying on the field, showing his desire to remain a Met. Shortly after the game, GM Sandy Alderson announced there will be no trade. Just two days later, the team acquired Detroit Tigers outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and Flores hit a walk off home run to lift the Mets past the division leading Washington Nationals in 12 innings.

Fast forward to September 5th. The Mets have a lead in the NL East and are about to face off against the team that is chasing them in a crucial three game series. The last thing the team needs is to loose focus and be distracted by something and that is exactly what has transpired. Scott Boras, the agent of ace Matt Harvey came out and claimed that Harvey has a 180 inning limit following Tommy John surgery. This meant that Harvey would realistically start in just two more games and would be unavailable for the postseason. On Saturday, Harvey dodged questions from the media regarding his availability for the postseason but the following day, he stated in The Players Tribune that he will pitch in the playoffs.

It is still up in the air in regards too just how much longer will Harvey pitch in 2015. Which begs the question: how many innings should Matt Harvey pitch in 2015?

Since missing all of the 2014 season due to injury, Harvey has been stellar in 2015. In 25 starts, he has a 12-7 record, posting an earned run average of 2.60. He has pitched 166.1 innings recording an impressive 158 strikeouts, while only giving up 34 walks. If the Mets want to make a run in the playoffs, let alone win the division, they need Harvey healthy and pitching like he has been throughout the duration of the season.

The most important thing in this situation is the long term health of Harvey; however, if he feels healthy there should be no cause for concern. The Mets have a very favourable schedule during the final month of the season. Harvey is slated to start on September 8th against the Nationals. His next two starts would most likely be against the Miami Marlins and the struggling Atlanta Braves, so it wouldn’t hurt the Mets to skip the aces next couple of starts following the Nationals game in order to preserve his innings pitched. If the Mets were to do this, Harvey would be fresh and ready to go for the final series of the regular season (if needed) against the Nationals.

There is no need to panic if you are a Mets fan. Realistically, it would be smart to cap Harvey at approximately 180 innings for the regular season, and have him ready to go for the playoffs. The Mets currently have a 5.0 game lead on the Nationals, and are showing no signs of slowing down offensively. Yes, there is a small chance the Metropolitans miss the playoffs; however this is unlikely. It is best to keep Harvey rested and healthy come playoff time, so he will be ready to go right from the start. Regardless, this is an extremely difficult situation for both the Mets and Harvey to deal with, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the next month.

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