This whole Matt Harvey, Scott Boras, Sandy Alderson, innings-limit situation is absolutely fascinating. In case you're just tuning in, here's the basic situation...
The doctor's limit...
Harvey has thrown 166 innings this season, during his first season back from Tommy John surgery.
Scott Boras recently told CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman that Matt Harvey's doctors are mandating that he not exceed 180 innings, because evidence indicates that pitchers are at significant risk of injury when setting a career-high in innings during the first year back from Tommy John surgery. Boras cites success stories, such as Steven Strasburg and Jordan Zimmerman, who followed the rules, compared to Shawn Marcum, who did not and re-injured his elbow.
The 180 innings set by doctors would essentially mean Harvey can throw just 20 innings between now and the end of the post season.
The way it stands, Harvey is projected to make four more starts between now and the end of September, which would put him around 200 innings on the season.
Sandy Alderson's limit...
Meanwhile, Sandy Alderson said the Mets have a plan in place, which Boras and Harvey agreed to at the start of the season, but now Boras wants to change it. However, the initial plan is working, Alderson says, so why deviate from what has so far been a success?
The way I understand it, Alderson's plan will allow Harvey to throw 200 innings, which he could slightly exceed depending on the quality of the workload. For instance, 'effortless innings,' days off, weather, etc., all factor in to the overall number.
My hunch is the Mets will let Harvey make a few more starts, then be selective with how he is used in October. I've heard they intend to start him the first game of the postseason, because they know he can 100% handle the pressure. After that, I don't know what happens. If he ends up throwing 210 innings, so be it. They have a chance to win now, Harvey is healthy, this is why he had the surgery, they won't be totally negligent, they'll be kind-of cautious, but I suspect that winning - and not a specific number or risk of injury - will rule the day for Alderson.
So, what does Harvey do when the Mets tell him to pitch?
In the end, this is going to come down to his choice. In the case of Strasburg, he had the team and doctors on the same page. He had no choice but to listen. However, in Harvey's case, he has a choice to make.
Harvey can side with doctors and his agent, defy his employer and alienate his fans and teammates, while protecting his arm, still future chances win, and do what's in his best interest financially. Or, he can defy his agent and doctor and risk his future on field and at the bank, but get to pitch in October, side with the team, stand with his teammates and be adored by fans.
The minute reporters are allowed to talk with him, I assume they'll simply ask, "What do you want to do?" It's the secret sauce. His answer is everything. It's the missing link in this entire discussion.
Matt, I guess the real question is, what would Batman do?