With the Mets down 3-1 in the 2015 World Series, Matt Harvey took the hill for New York looking to extend the series.
Harvey was spinning a career defining performance, and through eight innings hadn't given up a run with eight strikeouts. The Mets were winning 2-0. Terry Collins talked to Mike Francesa, Live at the Tilles Center, about how Harvey fought to remain in the game.
"The toughest part was he had an eight-pitch 8th inning, and so he comes off the mound in the 8th inning and he walks in the dugout and I said as he walks by me I said, "That's it." He went over to grab his jacket and he stopped and came back and said, "You got to let me go out there. This is my night, this is my game! I'm fine, you got to let me have this game" and I said "Well you got the first two guys." And certainly, it didn't work out but um, you know," Collins said.
Harvey saw two batters that ninth inning. The first, Lorenzo Cain, drew a walk on a 3-2 slider. It's a decision that has been questioned ad nausium, because Cain stole second before Eric Hosmer doubled him home. Harvey was removed after the Hosmer double, and Collins has no regrets with Harvey's pitch choice.
"Matt was so good, his slider was so good, I know his only thought was "I'm striking this guy out" and that's why he threw it," Collins said.
Late during that regular season, Harvey was the subject of a public innings dispute. Harvey's agent, Scott Boras, said the pitcher should be shut down after 180 innings. Harvey didn't exactly distance himself from the comments.
That debacle played a part in Collins' decision in that World Series game. Harvey showed he wanted the ball, innings limit be damned, so Collins let him stay in.
"A month earlier we had gone through a situation about pitch limits, pitch innings limits with him, and he got caught up and he was at 180 innings and then the next thing you know and that became, he got ripped about that and his teammates were down on him a little bit and I thought this was his night to rectify all that and I gave him that opportunity and it just didn't work," Collins said.
At the time, Harvey was one of the best pitchers in baseball. In the two seasons since that game, he's been anything but. Collins was asked if he believed Harvey would ever return to those heights.
"I'm not sure he'll ever see the velocity again," Collins said. "I think the injuries that he's had have curtailed that but you know what I saw Matt pitch great games and throw 94-95; he didn't have to throw 98. If he gets the slider back which I think was the pitch that he was most affected by this year, if that returns in his repertoire, Matt Harvey will win some games for the Mets."