Harvey, who has already thrown 171 2/3 innings in his first year back from Tommy John surgery, is nearing his doctor-recommended 180-inning cap. The Mets want to find a balance between his innings limit and being able to use him down the stretch and in the playoffs, in the event the Mets hold on to win the NL East.
"We're going to keep a very close eye on him," Collins said. "We have to be cognizant of the fact we are looking at innings situations."
According to multiple reports, the Mets do not want to shut him down and have him be rusty in October. Instead, the plan is to keep him on the mound, but to not overwork him through September.
"The difficulty of it all is hard," Collins said. "There are a lot of discussions that went into it - what was best, what's not, what's going to work, what isn't? No one has any answers because I think this is something that's pretty strange to happen at this time of year to your starting rotation, but we've had to deal with it and we will."
Collins has said he will use a combination of relievers once Harvey exits his start Sunday.
"We think if we pitch him and, yet, don't go crazy, we not only can get some innings now, which are important to get him ready for the postseason, but also have him available for the postseason," he explained. "As we head into the last 17 games, you need your best guys available to pitch."