Mets ponder ways to limit Matt Harvey’s workload

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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.

Dan Straily suspended five games, Don Mattingly one for throwing at Buster Posey

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Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that Marlins pitcher Dan Straily has been suspended five games and Don Mattingly one game for throwing intentionally at Giants catcher Buster Posey on Tuesday in San Francisco. Straily plans to appeal his suspension, so he will be allowed to take his normal turn through the rotation until that matter is settled.

Everything started on Monday, when the Marlins rallied in the ninth inning against closer Hunter Strickland. That included a game-tying single from Lewis Brinson, who pumped his fist and yelled in celebration. Strickland took exception, jawing at Brinson who was on third base when the right-hander was taken out of the game. Strickland went into the clubhouse and punched a door, breaking his hand.

The next day, Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez hit Brinson with a fastball, which prompted warnings for both teams. Mattingly came out to argue with the umpires about the fairness of issuing warnings right then and there. On his way back to the dugout, Mattingly apparently said, “You’re next” to Posey, who was standing around home plate. The next inning, Straily hit Posey on the arm with a fastball, which led to immediate ejections for both him and Mattingly.

Neither Rodriguez nor Giants manager Bruce Bochy were reprimanded, which is ludicrous because it was plainly obvious Rodriguez was throwing at Brinson. But neither team had been issued warnings. Essentially, Major League Baseball is giving free reign for teams to get their revenge pitches in. Furthermore, Straily’s five-game suspension is hardly a deterrent for throwing at a hitter. The Marlins could simply give Straily an extra day of rest and it’s like he was never suspended at all.

Beanball wars are bad for baseball. It puts players at risk for obvious reasons. When players have to miss time due to avoidable injury, self-inflicted (in the case of Strickland) or not (if, for example, Posey had a hand or wrist broken from Straily’s pitch), the game suffers because it becomes an inferior product. That’s, of course, second behind the simple fact that throwing at a player is a tremendously childish way to handle a disagreement. When aimed intentionally at another human being, a baseball is a weapon. That’s especially true when it’s in the hands of someone who has been trained to throw anywhere from 90 to 100 MPH.

Commisioner Rob Manfred has spent a lot of time trying to make the game of baseball more appealing, such adding pitch clocks and limiting mound visits. He should spend some time addressing the throwing-at-batters problem.