Matt Harvey has already logged 178.1 innings of work this season and he is on track to make another seven starts on his current schedule. The Mets, however, have made it abundantly clear throughout this season that they will attempt to limit his workload as the end of the season draws near.
Josh Vitale of MLB.com cites a few different methods the Mets may use to achieve their goal:
Collins said the Mets have looked into having Harvey back off bullpen sessions in between starts and back off his running program. The club has also talked about giving him extra days of rest where possible and even skipping him in the rotation.
“You’re trying to put people in the seats out there, and having Matt Harvey out there every five days helps us,” Collins said. “But we still know down the road, we have to keep this guy healthy.”
The Mets would love to see those Citi Field seats filled up on days Harvey starts, and they would also love it if Harvey happened to come home with some hardware during the off-season when the Baseball Writers Association of America reveals the results of the NL Cy Young balloting. Clayton Kershaw appears to be the heavy favorite, but with some of the results we have seen in recent years, one cannot take being a heavy favorite for granted. If the Mets cut into Harvey’s innings or if they simply cut his season short at some point in September, they would make his case for the award less compelling.
Harvey has a 2.27 ERA on the year and leads the league with 191 strikeouts. He has, however, started to falter lately. In his last three starts, spanning 18.2 innings, he has a 3.86 ERA while allowing 27 hits and striking out only 13 batters.
Former first base and infield coach Nick Leyva was promoted to senior advisor of baseball operations on Saturday, per a report by Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The Pirates also fired third base coach Rick Sofield, with no named successor as of yet.
Leyva joined the Pirates’ organization in the 2011 offseason as a third base coach under manager Clint Hurdle. He shifted to his role as the first base coach and infield coach in 2014, when first base coach Rick Sofield was reassigned to third base prior to the 2015 season. According to Biertempfel, the swap was made in order to optimize the team’s baserunning strategies, all of which appeared to fall flat during the 2015 and 2016 seasons:
The results this season were awful. The Pirates ranked 13th in the National League with a minus-7.0 BsR — a FanGraphs.com metric that measures how many runs above or below league average a team gets via its baserunning.
In 2013 and 2014, the Pirates had one of the top five BsR ratings in the NL. In 2015, they were seventh with a 2.8 BsR.
This season, the Pirates made the second-most outs at third base in the league and were last in taking extra bases on singles and doubles. Their baserunners went from first to third base on hits a league-low 63 times.
Sofield, in particular, highlighted the Pirates’ poor baserunning choices in games like this one, when he sent Sean Rodriguez home too early during the last vestige of a ninth inning rally against the Phillies.
Following the announcement, Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington issued a statement elaborating on Leyva’s role within the organization:
We have great respect and appreciation for both men. We thank them for their time and effort as part of our Major League team and the Pirates organization. It was a difficult decision, but we felt it was the right time to make this change on our Major League staff. We look forward to Nick’s continued impact in his future role with the Pirates. Nick has held nearly every coaching position at the major league level and at the minor league level, including Major League manager, in his extensive career and will be a quality mentor for our minor league managers, coaches and players.
With Game 6 of the NLCS just hours away, the Dodgers will opt for a lefty-heavy lineup against right-hander Kyle Hendricks. Batting leadoff is rookie outfielder Andrew Toles, who made one appearance at the top of the lineup during the 2016 season. The Cubs, meanwhile, will bench Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.. This will be Almora’s first start of the playoffs, and while he has yet to face Kershaw in October, his right-handed bat could play well against the lefty at the bottom of the lineup.
Game time is scheduled for 8 PM EDT; lineups are below.
1. Andrew Toles (L) LF
6. Wilson Contreras (R) C
8. Albert Almora Jr. (R) RF
9. Kyle Hendricks (R) RHP