NEW YORK — Terry Collins’ decision to leave Matt Harvey in the game for the ninth inning last night will be long-discussed in New York. Maybe second-guessed by some though, as I said last night, it’s hard to second guess. Maybe there were good arguments against it and maybe those good arguments were right. But there was a lot of emotion and drama and gut instinct to it all as well. On the part of Harvey. On the part of Collins. On the part of fans watching. Everyone.
The first question asked to Collins in the postgame press conference was, not surprisingly, about that decision. And Collins, somewhat surprisingly given how managers tend to defend their pitching decisions, admitted that it was all about his heart:
I told him that we were going — that was enough. And he just came over and said, “I want this game. I want it bad. You’ve got to leave me in.” I said, “Matt, you’ve got us exactly where we wanted to get you.” He said, “I want this game in the worst way.” So obviously I let my heart get in the way of my gut. I love my players. And I trust them. And so I said, “Go get ’em out.” And he went out and the lead-off walk started it off.
But if you’re going to let him just face one guy, you shouldn’t have sent him out there. When the double hit, that’s when I said, I’ve got to see if we can get out of this with only one run. And it didn’t work. It was my fault.
You have to give Collins credit for not hiding behind “what [he] saw out there” or “matchups” or alleged inside information the Mets and their scouts had or some mildly condescending reason that, in some small way, would work to defend against criticism. We hear that kind of stuff from managers all the time and it’s right enough of the time to where we are, in effect, more hesitant to criticize.
I’m not going to second guess Collins. I think I would’ve done the same thing he did in his place. Kudos to Collins for believing in his pitcher and standing up for that belief after the fact, knowing that the less-enlightened segments of society would pounce on him and Harvey for it in particularly obnoxious ways.