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Martino: Logic in Mets pitch to keep Harvey and Noah in game

Matt Harvey looks like an ace to start the game, but wilts late due to dehydration, say the Mets, who for better or worse are being careful with their star in his first season since Tommy John surgery.Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Matt Harvey looks like an ace to start the game, but wilts late due to dehydration, say the Mets, who for better or worse are being careful with their star in his first season since Tommy John surgery.

Matt Harvey began this one in full blaze, striking out all three Phillies he faced in the first inning, and stomping off the mound like he was born for this moment: ace of a first-place team in September, hungry for greatness.

“I thought he was going to throw a no-no,” said a scout sitting behind the plate.

By the end of the night, an apparent spell of dizziness and dehydration muted Harvey’s triumph, but he was more than good enough to beat the Phillies, 9-4, while allowing four runs in 6.1 innings.

Meanwhile, down in St. Louis, the Nationals managed to suffer even on a winning night. Bryce Harper, the best player in the league, left the game with “glute tightness,” and the bullpen blew two leads before Jonathan Papelbon barely preserved one in the ninth, and saved a 4-3 win.

This stunning Mets-Nats dynamic, in which everything comes up Metsie and the Nats do little well, was underscored again on Wednesday, with Harvey’s win, and the most recent development in the team’s non-shutdown innings plan for him.

Terry Collins said that he would skip Harvey one more time during the regular season, and a source told the Daily News’ Kristie Ackert that it would come sometime after an important start in Washington next week.

Cue the old-school fan anger about innings limits in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 …

Stephen Strasburg (r.) is famously shutdown due to innings limits as the Nationals showed arrogance about their former ace back in 2012.Alex Brandon/AP

Stephen Strasburg (r.) is famously shutdown due to innings limits as the Nationals showed arrogance about their former ace back in 2012.

But as much as the public wants to agonize over this monitoring of innings, the Mets’ process has left them where they want to be, heading into the final month of the season: No healthy pitcher will miss the playoffs. It also stands as yet another contrast to the blind arrogance of the Nationals.

We won’t spend many words reviewing that team’s 2012 decision to shut down then-ace Stephen Strasburg before the playoffs. Let’s just raise these key points: It was a bone-headed way to execute the noble idea of protecting a young player. And the Strasburg shutdown will stand forever as the symbol of a wasted era in Washington.

The Mets, by contrast, are slow-peddling this thing, remaining mindful of doctors’ recommendations while preserving their young guns for the playoffs. Quite a difference from the Nats’ all-or-nothing approach on Strasburg.

Harvey, this team’s ace, was determined to be available throughout October, and will indeed pitch as long as the Mets are playing.

“When all the innings things started to rear its ugly head, Matt said, ‘I am pitching in the playoffs,’ ” Collins said. “ ‘If we get to the playoffs, I am going to be able to pitch.’ In all the discussions we’ve had, (he says), ‘Listen, I am pitching in October.’”

The Mets, through careful planning, have made that possible without abusing their player. Of course, the team is fortunate that the Nats have underperformed so egregiously. That allowed the Mets to build a large enough lead to play with their rotation. If the teams were within a game or two of one another, skipping Harvey would be a much dicier call.

It’s also a credit to the organization’s pitching depth that its spot starters are Steven Matz, who projects as a top-of-the-rotation guy, and Logan Verrett, who dazzled last time with eight innings in Colorado.

The Nationals, meanwhile, continue to smell like a dumpster fire. On Wednesday, manager Matt Williams used his local radio time to defend his bullpen maneuverings, which stand out in their simplicity. Stretching from last year’s playoffs to this week, Williams’ allegiance to prescribed roles has cost his team big games.

Later in the day, general manager Mike Rizzo, who made the ill-advised Williams hire before last season, continued to strongly defend his skipper. It’s like the organization exists in an echo chamber, or parallel reality.

Trust us — much of the Nats clubhouse lost faith in Williams long ago, and evaluators around the league are pronouncing them dead.

Educated opinions are just that — informed, but subjective — but we just keep talking to scouts who see a dead team and an ineffective manager.

“I think they’re done,” said one scout who knows the division well. “They’re not playing with any energy at all.”

The Mets are miles away from flawless, both in their roster and decision-making process. But their handling of innings limits stands as yet another example of why they find themselves in a better position than Washington: The management in New York is not beyond reproach, but it at least attempts to utilize logic.

Baseball – NY Daily News

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