Aug. 31, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; New York Mets manager Terry Collins (10) prior to a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Mets Diamond Notes: Harvey's Last Start Set For Next Week; Collins Alters BP Routine


The innings-limit phenomenon is continuing to spread; Zack Wheeler has already been shut down for 2012, as he logged 149 innings pitched in his first full season in the Mets organization, a jump from the 115 he threw in 2011. Now, rookie Matt Harvey  officially has two starts left in his season before he gets shut down as well.

The young righty will be taking the hill against the Nationals tomorrow night at Citi Field, but his last start of the season will come against the Philadelphia Phillies next week at home, on September 18th. Despite losing his most recent outing, Harvey has impressed the Mets coaching staff and front office, as he’s gone 3-4 with a 3.04 ERA, while striking out 53 hitters in 47.1 innings pitched. Between Triple-A and the Majors, Harvey has logged 157.1 innings pitched. Before his last appearances was made official, the organization said they’d like to keep him around 175 IP this season after throwing 135.2 last season. He’s shown a great fastball (94.7 mph), but he’s also mixed in his slider, curveball, and changeup very well. Most importantly, he brings a naturally competitive personality that can become infectious with a young team.

Adam Rubin reported that the 2013 MLB schedule will be released later this week, but the Mets will be opening up the season at home against the Padres, which they did to open up Citi Field in 2009. Now that the Astros will be in the American League, therefore giving both the National League and American League 15 teams each, there will be interleague play throughout the season. The NL East is set to duel against the AL Central next year, as New York will go to Colorado and Minnesota on their first road trip. Having interleague play all year long will be quite a change from the norm, but I’ve always been one to look forward to playing American League teams, and I’m excited to see interleague play be expanded.

The second half has not been kind to the Mets, but especially at home, as they’ve gone 4-19 at Citi Field since the All-Star break, and have scored three runs or less in 11 straight home games. After doing a little research, Terry Collins and his coaching staff wanted to try altering their team batting practice routine. For instance, when they’re on the road, New York doesn’t finish hitting until around 45 minutes before game time, and have scored the second-most runs and second-most extra base hits in the National League. When they’re at Citi Field, they are the first team to hit batting practice, meaning the starters may have not seen a pitch for over two hours before game time. Since the MLB mandates that the home team takes BP first, Collins decided to have his starters hit after the reserves, cutting down on their idle time before the game starts.

While this is a creative idea by Collins to find any way possible to jump start one of the worst offenses the Mets have put on the field in a while, this is just laughable. These players are professional athletes, and they should know how to get themselves ready for a game. Every team that plays at home has to deal with this time issue, and clubs like the Nationals and Cardinals have no problem hitting once the game starts, and the Mets were able to hit in the first half despite this large gap in time. Part of being a good ballplayer is knowing yourself; if you’re the type of player that can take early BP and still be productive in the game, that’s great. If you’re the type that needs more swings closer to the game or some soft toss to get your hands going, that’s great too. Citi Field has an indoor cage, so use it. Go in there and take five swings before you head out onto the field, it only takes 5 minutes to do.

I understand Collins is trying his best to get positive results, but it’s getting to the point where he’s making too many excuses for his team. They need to act like professionals, suck it up, and do what they need to do to be successful. If that means turning off their iPod or leaving the game of cards until after the game, tough. Just do it, because watching the offense perform like a Little League team is embarrassing.

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Tags: Matt Harvey Mets Diamond Notes New York Mets Terry Collins Zack Wheeler