Mets should consider having Matt Harvey pitch both openers

By Danny Abriano

Recently, it was reported that while Matt Harvey would likely not be starting on Opening Day on April 6 in Washington, he would almost certainly be getting the nod in the Mets’ home opener on April 13.

However, on Tuesday, Kevin Kernan of the New York Post reported that the plan in place (which could change) has Harvey starting the afternoon of April 9 in Washington and the night of April 14 (the Mets’ second home game) at Citi Field.

Of course, Sandy Alderson said early Tuesday that no decisions have been made.

Writes Kernan:

"First off, the Mets have decreed that Harvey is not in play for the season opener. That is a wise decision. The Mets don’t need Harvey to over-amp it on Opening Day in Washington and run into issues as he returns from Tommy John surgery that cost him his 2014 season.As for the Mets home opener, the same thinking is in place, the Mets don’t want Harvey to be over-amped, try a bit too hard, and run into trouble."

Kernan also notes that the crowd for the second home game of the year is usually sparse, so the Mets having Harvey pitch that game would bring in extra money for the club.

If the Mets are in any way letting non-baseball factors dictate in which game Harvey makes his home return (and it seems that they are), it would make much more sense to simply have him start both Opening Day and the home opener.

In order to have Harvey pitch on April 6 and April 13, all the Mets would have to do is slide Dillon Gee in for one start. It’s that simple.

The idea that Harvey will be too amped up if he starts either of the opening games is a strange one. Harvey is a different type of competitor, someone who was admittedly amped up during a recent batting practice session where no one was swinging. He’s going to be amped no matter when or where he starts.

With Harvey coming off Tommy John surgery, erring on the side of caution will always make sense. This is where the weather becomes a factor.

While it’s impossible to take anything from weather forecasts a month or more out, it seems that starting Harvey during two afternoon games in early April is a better idea than having him start a night game in potentially frigid weather.

Additionally, as is noted above, the Mets are apparently allowing non-baseball factors to partially determine Harvey’s schedule. If that’s the case, they should at least start him during the home opener to throw a bone to fans who have sat through six straight losing seasons and would rather not freeze on the night of April 14.

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