Mets right-hander Matt Harvey spoke to Tom Verducci of the Sports Illustrated about his recovery from Tommy John elbow surgery and said he wanted to return to the majors in August to make 5-7 starts down the stretch, but general manager Sandy Alderson quickly made it clear that the team isn’t going to let that happen.
August would be just 10 months after the surgery and the typically recovery timetable is 12-18 months, which is why Alderson said this to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York:
Not being a medical doctor and not really faced with that decision previously, I’ll reserve judgment. But the one thing we don’t want to do is be put in a situation where someone–Matt, or anyone else–has a setback because we’ve pushed the natural recovery processes further than we should have.
Exactly. Alderson and the Mets don’t need Harvey back for 5-7 starts in August and September, they need him back for hundreds of starts over the next decade. And by giving him every opportunity to be at full strength whenever he does take the mound again they give themselves the best chance to accomplish that.
I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.
Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.
This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.
Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.