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Post Info TOPIC: Uh-oh, Seaj, Don't Read This! Fewer Innings for Starting Pitchers?
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Third Base Coach

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Date: Jun 23, 2015
Uh-oh, Seaj, Don't Read This! Fewer Innings for Starting Pitchers?
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http://finance.yahoo.com/news/royals-rays-reinventing-teams-starting-183728410.html



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A lot of starters already struggle to get through five innings.

What's next?  A pitching staff of nothing but long and short relievers, with no set rotations?

For what it's worth, I think we might be seeing a slight reversion take shape.

Hitters are starting -- little by little -- to try to get back to being able to hit the ball the other way on occasion, since the shifts are eating them alive.  Hitters need to be able to use the entire field, since very few of them are named Ted Williams.

Managers are finding that even eight-man bullpens aren't enough of a guarantee.  You can't expect to get five from your starter, then patch together the game with your pen every day.

Starters need to pitch deeper into games, so that means they'll have to learn to back off a bit, and not always throw the ball as hard as they can.  Pitching is the art of upsetting the hitter's timing and balance.  Changing speeds, hitting spots.

That would also (hopefully) cut down on the high number of injuries we're seeing.  There was so much talk about pitchers throwing harder and harder, then needing to cut their workload to avoid injury.

But what about just starting from the position of not trying to blow the ball past every hitter they face?  Less strain on the arm.  Maybe get back to the full windup.

Trust the defense to make plays behind you.  And, if the defense is going to shift, pitch to the shift (I see a lot of pitchers pitch outside or off the plate, when the defense is shifted to pull.



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Third Base Coach

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A lot of starters already struggle to get through five innings.

I agree.  When the Phillies last won the World Series in 2008, Cole Hamels was the only pitcher in the rotation would consistently pitched 7-9 innings.  Moyer, Kendrick (used as a swingman), Myers, Blanton and Eaton were regularly replaced in the 6th or 7th inning.  (Ironically, the Phillies let Moyer pitch deeper into games in subsequent years.)  Lidge, Madsen, Condrey, Durbin, Romero, Happ, and Seanez gave Manual the ability to shorten starts.

What's next?  A pitching staff of nothing but long and short relievers, with no set rotations?

Yes, I think it is possible that some teams may experiment and have success with this strategy,  particularly the back end of the rotation. In his book on hitting, Ted Williams spoke about how important the first at bat was to re-familiarize yourself with the pitcher and to set up your next at bats.  He felt the more often you faced the same pitcher the more of an advantage hitters had.

Teams might have 1-2 starting pitchers who go deep and three others who 3-5 innings per game. 

It is not far fetched to think a baseball team could use 9 pitchers for the entire season in sets of 3.  They would get two days off between appearances.  They would all appear in 54 games a season getting 162 innings per year.  (OK, not a perfect concept as extra innings would be problematic.)

 

Hitters are starting -- little by little -- to try to get back to being able to hit the ball the other way on occasion, since the shifts are eating them alive.  Hitters need to be able to use the entire field, since very few of them are named Ted Williams.

I have seen some evidence of this.  It is not common place yet, and I don't think it is going to bring an end to the shift.  The real acid test is whether teams begin to reward players who can use the entire field by promoting them quicker and compensating them for that skill.  Then you will see a shift away from the dead pull hitter.

 

Starters need to pitch deeper into games, so that means they'll have to learn to back off a bit, and not always throw the ball as hard as they can.  Pitching is the art of upsetting the hitter's timing and balance.  Changing speeds, hitting spots.

I do not agree that pitchers need to pitch deeper into games, but I agree that speed is overvalued.  Everybody is looking for the next Koufax, Gibson, Carlton, Seaver, Johnson, Schilling, Clemens, etc.  who can blow the ball by the hitter.  But for everyone of these guys, there have been 100 others who threw just as hard but without the success.  The difference is the pitcher who can throw hard with control is dominant.  What scouts undervalue is a pitcher with average speed and control.  They are usually more effective and reliable than a hard thrower without control.

I would humbly suggest to your point about pitching is the art of upsetting a hitter's timing and balance is a good argument for changing pitchers every three innings.

 



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Point taken oin changing pitchers every three innings.

But how would that impact your roster? How many pitchers would you have to carry? Everyone's going to want to continue to carry a closer, one or two set-up guys, and a LOOGY ot two.

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I think if the Colorado Rockies had success with their limited innings plan a couple years ago, there would be at least 3 or 4 teams right now doing it as well.

The fact they failed moved that experiment back at least 5-10 years.

Of course they had no talented players to do it with, which hurt them.

If you took a team like.....let's say Arizona.....with at least a couple decent pitchers to start with.........I bet this plan would work.

WHAT YOU WOULD NEED........11 pitchers

1) better then average closer
2) 2 set-up guys who could close if needed (and tons of teams have at least one pseudo-closer)
3) 1 LOOGY (who could be a lefty "starter" on their throw day if needed)
4) 7 other pitchers

Along with........
5) 3 VERY experienced guys to come off the bench to pinch hit if it is an NL team (2 if AL team)

The four back-of-the-pen guys have their roles pretty much etched in stone.

The other 7 rotate around, with the starter going NO MORE THEN 4 innings, no matter the pitch count. So basically you have a 7-man rotation.

You need two other guys to give the set-up guys a blow every now and again. Every manager/pitching coach now has charts on who has pitched what day, how many pitches thrown, and when they have a scheduled day off for them ("So-and-so isn't available tonight"). Middle-of-game guys go NO MORE THEN two innings.

If done properly, no one gets burned out, everyone stays sharp, pitchers more the most part know their roles, they can go as hard as they can for short bursts then rest a day or two. Also if a game goes extras, you have guys that are stretched out without being burned out (which eliminates position players in the 14th inning, or teams using their whole staff save the next days starter, and have to shuttle guys up and down from the minors).

Of course you would have tons of players who wouldn't buy in to the concept (imagine starters KNOWING the only way they get credit for a win is to come in RELIEF in the 5th inning). And you wouldn't be able to do it with a team like the Dodgers (with two aces in Kershaw and Grienke) or Seattle (with a stud like Felix).

Think of sports now.....soooooo much specialization. This way, however, actually MINIMIZES it, along with eliminating lots of middle-of-inning pitching changes (save your one LOOGY on the staff), which would speed the game along.



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To me, it also sounds like more trouble than most teams would want to deal with. You're talking about four or five pitching changes on most days, as a matter of rote (yes, it seems like we are already there on most days...).

I still believe the most likely solution is to coach your starters to be able to work situations more intelligently, and try to get seven up front.

Then fill in as necessary.

Think about the other half of the equation: dumbed-down hitters who have largely forgotten how to use the whole field. With so many hitters swinging from the heels, trying to pull everything, any pitcher worth his salary should be able to dismantle these guys.

Edgar gad a nice discussion of hitting technique with Mike Blowers recently, in which he talked about seeing so few (if any) hitters who used a balanced approach and shifted their weight (like Frank Thomas, whom he gave as an example). They back-leg everything.

Ichiro's approach when he arrived here would be another good example.

It might be worth mentioning here how it's players who come from places like Japan who still have the good fundamental approach. Remember the point in another thread about the full windup, and how it provides balance and helps loosen up the arm.

At the same time, they manage to have an interesting array of tics in their motions that can throw hitters off their timing.



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seajaw wrote:

To me, it also sounds like more trouble than most teams would want to deal with. You're talking about four or five pitching changes on most days, as a matter of rote (yes, it seems like we are already there on most days...).

I still believe the most likely solution is to coach your starters to be able to work situations more intelligently, and try to get seven up front.

Then fill in as necessary.

Think about the other half of the equation: dumbed-down hitters who have largely forgotten how to use the whole field. With so many hitters swinging from the heels, trying to pull everything, any pitcher worth his salary should be able to dismantle these guys.

Edgar gad a nice discussion of hitting technique with Mike Blowers recently, in which he talked about seeing so few (if any) hitters who used a balanced approach and shifted their weight (like Frank Thomas, whom he gave as an example). They back-leg everything.

Ichiro's approach when he arrived here would be another good example.

It might be worth mentioning here how it's players who come from places like Japan who still have the good fundamental approach. Remember the point in another thread about the full windup, and how it provides balance and helps loosen up the arm.

At the same time, they manage to have an interesting array of tics in their motions that can throw hitters off their timing.


 While I strongly agree with you here, I just don't see it happening.

Did you catch any of the College World Series?  Kids were barely hitting 90mph.  Granted there is a lot of time for them to grow into their bodies, get stronger, and gain velocity, but I was very much impressed with a lot of the pitchers and how they didn't throw a million MPH.

The bigger problem is, these camps where people teach kids how to throw faster.

I would be shocked if we see another Greg Maddux-type pitcher in our lifetime.



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Third Base Coach

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nacster wrote:
seajaw wrote:

To me, it also sounds like more trouble than most teams would want to deal with. You're talking about four or five pitching changes on most days, as a matter of rote (yes, it seems like we are already there on most days...).

I still believe the most likely solution is to coach your starters to be able to work situations more intelligently, and try to get seven up front.


 While I strongly agree with you here, I just don't see it happening.

Did you catch any of the College World Series?  Kids were barely hitting 90mph.  Granted there is a lot of time for them to grow into their bodies, get stronger, and gain velocity, but I was very much impressed with a lot of the pitchers and how they didn't throw a million MPH.

The bigger problem is, these camps where people teach kids how to throw faster.

I would be shocked if we see another Greg Maddux-type pitcher in our lifetime.


Having pitchers to be able to go 7 innings is a strategy that has worked for generations, but I think there are other strategies that may be equally effective.  Today, most teams do not seem to have five quality starters, and new strategies may be needed.  I applaud teams that experiment with conventional wisdom.  We will see how it works out for Tampa and Kansas City this year.  There is a chance, they will burn through their bullpen arms and collapse in the second half of the season.  There is a chance they will succeed and imitated by other teams next year.  Variations of the strategy may emerge.  Counter strategies will be tried.  No telling what the residual effect will be on their pitchers next year.  While the limited innings for starter strategy has been used in before, there is not enough data yet to know whether it will be effective or not.  It will be fun to watch.

 

 



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Season Ticket Holder - Lower Deck

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Case in point, and as much as it pains me to say it Zack Greinke dominated the Nats this past Sunday but yet he was pulled after the 8th.

With the way managers are managing the game these days I'm convinced that 90% of the games are won and lost with the bullpen. The job of today's starting pitcher just seems to be "don't lose the game in the first few innings, hang in there until the 6th and let the bullpen take over."

It seems that these days the role of the starting pitcher is just to make to inning 6 or 7 and the job is done.



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Well, the pen has sure cost the Mariners the last two days...

While I agree that we shouldn't expect nine innings out of every starter, or even most of them, I believe pitchers become comfortable with what they are trained to produce.  You tell a guy he's done after seven innings (or 100 pitches), you get pitchers that are trained to meet that standard.

But pitchers are different.  Some guys are Erik Bedard, and others are Lefty Grove.  You treat everyone the same, however, and you never know that you might have another Walter Johnson on your hands.

It's not that he's not out there, somewhere.  But he doesn't get the chance to show what he can do.

Even after Madison Bumgartner's amazing World Series performance, managers still use the quick hook.

Yes, I know about all the money that's at risk.

As recently as the '80's, you still had a few studs who would take the ball and give you nine.

Regulars here know I have incredible respect for Jack Morris.  He pitched into the ninth more times than Roger Clemens ever pitched into the eighth (and he did it in 180 fewer starts).  And that's with better bullpen support at almost every stop along the way (guys like Willie Hernandez, Rick Aguilera, Tom Henke).

The pen knew they'd usually have an easy day when Jack was on the mound.  Nowadays, you get a game when the starter only goes five, another one where they go six, maybe seven.  Your pen is working every day,

Then comes the inevitable 12-inning game, where you go through the whole gang, and have to call Triple-A for an assist.



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Was watching MLBtv last night......the 10pm show (which ran until 1am...watched the whole thing).

Al Leiter did a piece about pitchers deliveries and how they can use minimal movement to throw 95 mph.'

I am writing this because Seajaw will be familiar with one of the pitchers they featured, Tajuan Walker.

Basically the guy....like Jake Arrieta and many others....use no windup. Leiter said the era of pitchers using a full windup.....hands and the belt, going over their head in a swinging motion, then through, like Tom Seaver for example which they used on the show.....is gone, that pitching coaches preach minimal movement to make less motion/moving parts, simplifying the delivery.

Leiter said.....without mentioning arm injuries directly......pitchers lose their "rhythm".....that a pitching movement should take you from zero to a hundred (or really one to ten) in a long motion. Guys nowadays go from 1 to 10 in one shot, no free-flowing motion. He used Walker in that sequence and showed his motion, how there is no windup...he basically almost faces third base, barely moves his hands, and fires.

Seajaw can back this up I would imagine since he knows Walker's delivery more then most of us.

By using this delivery (they showed Greg Maddux as well, how he used a full windup, hands over head, and mentioned John Smoltz as well since he works at MLBtv)....again, this is my opinion as I have mentioned, and again Leiter never brought up arm injuries......I STRONGLY feel that by minimizing delivery....to "maintain mechanics" as Leiter mentioned.....this is what is bringing up all the arm injuries. Pitchers, especially in this type of delivery, NEVER EVER use their legs, nor do they use their upper body in a movement......kind of like a car (this is my analogy), starting a car, letting it warm up, then driving it slowly up to speed......the "zero to a hundred" Leiter mentioned......versus something like a drag racer, starting at a dead stop then gunning it as hard and as fast as you can from a dead stop.

It really was a very interesting piece, even though he never brought up arm injuries (rather, he mentioned release points).

__________________

"NACSTER'S HISTORICAL REPLAY"

34 REPLAYS IN THE BOOKS!

1876-1883

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1956-1963

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1986

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Third Base Coach

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nacster wrote:

Was watching MLBtv last night......the 10pm show (which ran until 1am...watched the whole thing).

Al Leiter did a piece about pitchers deliveries and how they can use minimal movement to throw 95 mph.'

I am writing this because Seajaw will be familiar with one of the pitchers they featured, Tajuan Walker.

Basically the guy....like Jake Arrieta and many others....use no windup. Leiter said the era of pitchers using a full windup.....hands and the belt, going over their head in a swinging motion, then through, like Tom Seaver for example which they used on the show.....is gone, that pitching coaches preach minimal movement to make less motion/moving parts, simplifying the delivery.

Leiter said.....without mentioning arm injuries directly......pitchers lose their "rhythm".....that a pitching movement should take you from zero to a hundred (or really one to ten) in a long motion. Guys nowadays go from 1 to 10 in one shot, no free-flowing motion. He used Walker in that sequence and showed his motion, how there is no windup...he basically almost faces third base, barely moves his hands, and fires.

Seajaw can back this up I would imagine since he knows Walker's delivery more then most of us.

By using this delivery (they showed Greg Maddux as well, how he used a full windup, hands over head, and mentioned John Smoltz as well since he works at MLBtv)....again, this is my opinion as I have mentioned, and again Leiter never brought up arm injuries......I STRONGLY feel that by minimizing delivery....to "maintain mechanics" as Leiter mentioned.....this is what is bringing up all the arm injuries. Pitchers, especially in this type of delivery, NEVER EVER use their legs, nor do they use their upper body in a movement......kind of like a car (this is my analogy), starting a car, letting it warm up, then driving it slowly up to speed......the "zero to a hundred" Leiter mentioned......versus something like a drag racer, starting at a dead stop then gunning it as hard and as fast as you can from a dead stop.

It really was a very interesting piece, even though he never brought up arm injuries (rather, he mentioned release points).


Interesting.  I will have to look for this piece, but I have long suspected that the shortened deliveries were contributing to pitcher arm injuries (rotor cuffs, tommy john surgeries etc.).  I would also point out that pitchers have shortened their deliveries in order to reduce stolen bases, and yet there is very little evidence that stolen bases lead to more runs.  In fact, moneyballers believe that teams stealing too many bases score fewer runs because it leads to too many unnecessary outs.  Food for thought and discussion.



-- Edited by Tall Tactician on Wednesday 2nd of September 2015 11:38:33 AM

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Tall Tactician wrote:
nacster wrote:

Was watching MLBtv last night......the 10pm show (which ran until 1am...watched the whole thing).

Al Leiter did a piece about pitchers deliveries and how they can use minimal movement to throw 95 mph.'

I am writing this because Seajaw will be familiar with one of the pitchers they featured, Tajuan Walker.

Basically the guy....like Jake Arrieta and many others....use no windup. Leiter said the era of pitchers using a full windup.....hands and the belt, going over their head in a swinging motion, then through, like Tom Seaver for example which they used on the show.....is gone, that pitching coaches preach minimal movement to make less motion/moving parts, simplifying the delivery.

Leiter said.....without mentioning arm injuries directly......pitchers lose their "rhythm".....that a pitching movement should take you from zero to a hundred (or really one to ten) in a long motion. Guys nowadays go from 1 to 10 in one shot, no free-flowing motion. He used Walker in that sequence and showed his motion, how there is no windup...he basically almost faces third base, barely moves his hands, and fires.

Seajaw can back this up I would imagine since he knows Walker's delivery more then most of us.

By using this delivery (they showed Greg Maddux as well, how he used a full windup, hands over head, and mentioned John Smoltz as well since he works at MLBtv)....again, this is my opinion as I have mentioned, and again Leiter never brought up arm injuries......I STRONGLY feel that by minimizing delivery....to "maintain mechanics" as Leiter mentioned.....this is what is bringing up all the arm injuries. Pitchers, especially in this type of delivery, NEVER EVER use their legs, nor do they use their upper body in a movement......kind of like a car (this is my analogy), starting a car, letting it warm up, then driving it slowly up to speed......the "zero to a hundred" Leiter mentioned......versus something like a drag racer, starting at a dead stop then gunning it as hard and as fast as you can from a dead stop.

It really was a very interesting piece, even though he never brought up arm injuries (rather, he mentioned release points).


Interesting.  I will have to look for this piece, but I have long suspected that the shortened deliveries were contributing to pitcher arm injuries (rotor cuffs, tommy john surgeries etc.).  I would also point out that pitchers have shortened their deliveries in order to reduce stolen bases, and yet there is very little evidence that stolen bases lead to more runs.  In fact, moneyballers believe that teams stealing too many bases score fewer runs because it leads to too many unnecessary outs.  Food for thought and discussion.



-- Edited by Tall Tactician on Wednesday 2nd of September 2015 11:38:33 AM


Thanks for posting that.  I touched very briefly on the full windup earlier in the thread.

Today, so much attention is focused on a "minimalist" approach, with a repeatable motion.  I guess that anything like a full windup or a high leg kick is a distraction.

Most of today's hurlers fire from a standing start, like a sprinter bursting from the blocks.

That approach might work fine for a short reliever, but a starter needs to think more like a marathoner, or someone who takes part in one of those 5K fun runs.

As far as the windup vs. base stealing is concerned, pitchers used to go with the windup until they had to deal with base stealing threats.  Then, they would pitch from the set.

Why did that change?  Are we saying today's hurlers aren't capable of doing both, like their predecessors?

Throwing with a full windup helps keep the arm loose.  It also contributes to better velocity.  Why can't today's hurlers use the windup when there are no base stealing threats, then switch to the set when the need arises?



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Overnight it seems, Mets star right-hander Matt Harvey has gone from the Dark Knight to lightweight. Or so it seems, if you read the New York tabloids.

Harvey is being portrayed as two-faced on the front page of one tabloid (with a doctored pictured to go along with that narrative, no less). And that was the better one; in the other, it was suggested he should be traded away from the Mets.

New York needs to settle down, take a breath, and also relax.

Mets fans finally need to come to grips with the fact Harvey isn't really Batman, or any other superhero, even if the tabloids once suggested he was. He is a human, a kid who bleeds, experiences pain, and may even cry on occasion.

He's someone who's doing what almost anyone in his shoes would do, and should do, and that is to listen to his doctor, who also happens to be one of the foremost authorities on Tommy John surgery in the world.

Not to mention, he is a kid (and yes, 26 is practically a child in this case, even if some would have you believe otherwise). And he's a kid who learned early about his own career mortality two years ago.

That's when he suffered a severe injury in his very first season, and legendary septuagenarian surgeon James Andrews needed to put his elbow back together in the Tommy John procedure that's been a Godsend to a generation of pitchers but still isn't quite foolproof. Andrews sent him home from Pensacola with a rebuilt arm and no guarantees.

He's a kid who's tough, though maybe not quite as bulletproof as has been portrayed. Or even he has portrayed.

He is already someone who's en route to becoming maybe the first pitcher to set a career innings record in his year after returning from Tommy John surgery. Though New York apparently wants much more. Demands it, in fact.

He is a kid whose big crime was to dare to suggest in his first post-controversy comments that he has planned to listen to that very legendary doctor, who has quite apparently recommended a 180-inning limit guideline. Harvey's late arrival in Miami only delayed putting him into the middle of the public debate between two very smart and determined lawyers, his agent Scott Boras and his boss, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, over what the innings limit actually is, and over how much of a risk he should take.

Then the debate started to become, who knew what and when. And that's when you know it gets ugly, uglier than it has a right to be.

 

 

 

 

 

Matt Harvey Will Matt Harvey pitch if the Mets adavance to the postseason? (USATSI)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, after Harvey was called upon and didn't immediately answer as a cartoonish superhero, he is suddenly The Joker. Maybe that's the way things work sometimes in overheated New York, which bought easily into the myth rather than take the time to understand the young man. But that doesn't make it right.

The reality is that Harvey wants to pitch. He wants to pitch as often and as much as he possibly can, without risking his livelihood, or badly damaging his life. There is Tommy John, the soft-tossing left-handed pitcher, who pitched a decade with a rebuilt arm, and many others who had second lives with updated arms. But there are plenty of Mark Priors in the world, too. And if gets to that, that benefits no one.

Harvey is already practically guaranteed to set a career innings high already, and now, with all New York up in arms, the young pitcher, Boras and the doctors are working on a compromise solution that would allow him to pitch into the playoffs, should the Mets get there. That compromise sounds like it might entail September outings with severe pitch limits as way to get him into October, where the Mets faithful demands he be. But it doesn't sound like he's throwing 180 innings now, then 20 or 30 innings later. Nor should he be expected to do that.

"In the last 10 years, no pitchers who has never thrown 200 innings in a season has gone from zero innings to 190 innings following surgery," Neal ElAttrache, along with Andrews the foremost expert on Tommy John surgeries, told Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. "Matt Harvey would be a test case."

Nobody should want Harvey to be a test case. Nor should they want him to be one.

ElAttrache also said it's his opinion that it's "reasonable to consider 180 innings to be his limit." The Mets may point out that ElAttrache isn't his doctor. ("He wouldn't know Harvey if he walked into the room," one Mets person said a few days ago.) But if Harvey is hearing the same from Andrews -- who only told the Times he believes what should be done is "whatever is best for Matt's career" -- and there's no reason to think he is, it is hard to argue that point.

Alderson, while upset believes he was blindsided late with the 180-inning limit, conceded in the original article on CBS Sports, which first laid out the dispute, that a pitcher's injury risk is "slightly enhanced," beyond 180 innings, and that "one doesn't need a medical degree to know that."

In any case, Harvey, with the guidance of ElAttrache and Andrews, is working on a plan to allow him to make it into October. Which, in reality, is beyond what anyone should reasonably expect of him.

Tommy John surgery is serious business, and if a pitcher requires a second such operation, he is more likely than not, toast. When there are multiple Tommy John surgeries, well-known data shows there's only a 30-percent expectancy of success, meaning the continuation of a productive career.

MLB is cognizant of how arm injuries have killed so much young promise to the point where it endorses pitchsmart.org, the Web site dedicate to preserving young arms. This is no joke.

As Keith Hernandez eloquently put it on SNY, it's not all about the moolah to come, it's about the guy's career and his life. Is he going to enjoy another decade of big-league success? Or is going to have endure a quick and painful end to all he has known?

Meanwhile, back in Gotham, the silly debate rages on about exactly how big a villain Harvey should be. It is all too much, which sadly is by far the course.

And so far nearly everyone is piling on the former hero. One veteran columnist invoked the word "quitter." This about a pitcher who's thrown brilliantly his first year back, piled up the innings and helped get the Mets to this point.

The battle lines have been drawn, The esteemed sexagenarian GM of the team, who is one of the smartest and erudite men in baseball, and has been for decades, is seen uttering a bleeped-out obscenity on the back page of one of the tabloids. He is talking Harvey into being an adult in the article, and even putting pressure on the kid pitcher.

On a very day where it's being presented everywhere in New York that Harvey isn't the tough team man those very tabloids made him out to be, Alderson tells the Daily News, "Matt's going to have to make a decision ... This is a 26-year-old man, not some 18-year-old kid. He's an adult." (For the record, Alderson and Boras now both say they don't want to be quoted anymore, which only makes sense considering how crazy it's all gotten.)

 

Matt Harvey Mets fans have turned on Matt Harvey after his latest comments. (USATSI)

 

 

But those of us who've paid complete attention all know that while Harvey is a great competitor, he isn't fully mature (i.e. he tweeted a picture of himself giving the finger from the hospital room after surgery). And well, that's probably the point. Maybe the Mets think they can get Harvey to throw more innings by goading him into it.

And maybe they will. He's already working on the compromise.

Maybe they're just upset this is playing out in the press. That's life in the big city, as they say. The two sides, it seems, have at least some of the same goals, and there seems to be reason to think they can hash out a workable plan. (A Mets person certainly did not rule that out, and maybe some progress can be made if Alderson and Harvey have their tete-a-tete in Washington in Monday.)

Meantime, the tussle between Alderson and Boras spiced things up, with dustups about who knew what and when. Alderson says now that the plan was "185 innings and the playoffs," and maybe it was, at least in the minds of the Mets'. But was this a plan Boras, Harvey and Andrews signed off on?

There are quotes from spring training suggesting 185 innings was possible, and there are comments later, once it started to seem the postseason was realistic, that the Mets expected him to pitch in the playoffs, too. The Mets may well have conjoined these two thoughts in their minds -- 185 innings and playoffs - but all the many quotes on this issue seemed to suggest one or the other thought -- the 185 innings or the playoffs -- but not both.

It's reasonable to assume Harvey understood, thought or assumed the 185-inning mark represented the total number. And doctors tell him now he was right about that. Out of all the stories from spring and summer that have been dug up, there aren't any that have been found suggested it was 185 plus playoffs, even if the Mets always believed that to be the case.

That may be the crux of the issue. Mets people point out they never said "no playoffs." But did Harvey assume 185 meant 185 plus playoffs?

That is no small difference. The playoffs can't just be thrown in as an extra. Alderson recently said "it wouldn't be like Madison Bumgarner last year." But could that mean it could still be an added 25 innings? Or 35? And under playoff stress. That is no small thing, certainly not something to be thrown in as an extra.

Pitching coach Dan Warthen's quote in spring saying they'd go to 185 "then see where we are," seems to fit what they were thinking, both then and now. But maybe they aren't thinking the same thing now. They don't appear to be.

There are also quotes from Collins in early July suggesting they'd shut down Harvey in September if they need to, that they wouldn't leave it up to Matt as a way to protect him. But now the entire story's turned, 180 degrees.

Some may say the Mets should have checked more regularly. Maybe both sides were wishing for the best. Or maybe neither expected the Mets to be where they are.

Mets people say if he isn't 100 percent they'd do him the favor of shutting him down later. But maybe it's better if he never gets to that point. There's said to be concern over the dehydration he experienced last time, and the hope it wouldn't affect his mechanics if it occurs again.

The Mets in this case have done an extraordinary job keeping Harvey in tact and healthy to this point, and that's no small thing. Give them serious credit for only reaching 110 pitches in one of his starts, and not once going to past 115.

But, at this point, they are diverging from the Nationals, who shut down Stephen Strasburg for the 2012 playoffs, and still get grief for it (even though it was their bullpen which blew a five-run lead in the decisive Game 5). Strasburg's elbow has remained healthy (he's had other physical issues) in the three years since, and that's no small thing.

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo took the hit that time. Now it is Harvey who is wearing the unfortunate, undeserved bull's eye.

Harvey was indeed wrong to express his upset over being moved in to a six-man rotation a couple times earlier when the Mets were doing their best to protect him. That was more about routine than the innings total, but this was no time to look like the tough guy.

Now he is being painted as hypocrite by the very tabloids that mistakenly thought he was superhero. Maybe he is wrong to perpetuate the superhero theme, but that only proves he's human.

ElAttrache said there was no villain here yet, and that sounds about right. Alderson is wrong about one thing, though. Harvey is just a kid, and he's a kid who had understandable concerns about his career, and his life.

That is no crime.



__________________

"NACSTER'S HISTORICAL REPLAY"

34 REPLAYS IN THE BOOKS!

1876-1883

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