Terry Collins’ decision to let Matt Harvey pitch the ninth inning of Game 5 cost the New York Mets their best chance at staying alive in the World Series.
Despite a dominant outing through eight innings, Harvey gave up a run in the top of the ninth to cut the lead to 2-1.
He then got pulled, but the Kansas City Royals scored another run to tie it up and send it to extra innings, where they eventually won 7-2.
After the game, Terry Collins was extremely hard on himself, taking the blame for leaving Harvey in, saying he made a decision with his heart, not his gut. Collins told reporters:
“I told him that we were going — that was enough,” Collins began. “And he just came over and said, ‘I want this game. I want it bad. You’ve got to leave me in.’ I said, ‘Matt, you’ve got us exactly where we wanted to get you.’ He said, ‘I want this game in the worst way.’ So obviously I let my heart get in the way of my gut. I love my players. And I trust them. And so I said, ‘Go get ’em out.’ And he went out and the lead-off walk started it off.”
Harvey walked the lead-off batter (Lorenzo Cain, who scored the Royals’ first run), but Collins left him in, saying, “if you’re going to let him just face one guy, you shouldn’t have sent him out there.” He said when Harvey gave up the double, that’s when he decided to relieve him. “I said, I’ve got to see if we can get out of this with only one run. And it didn’t work. It was my fault.”
Collins continued, harping on the fact that his emotions got the better of him:
“When you looked in [Harvey’s] eyes, when he came off that inning, and I mean, he’s been through a tough summer. He’s been beaten down, and I just trusted him. I said, ‘You got it. You’ve earned this. So go get ’em.’ So it’s my fault. It’s not his. That’s who he is.
“I know better than that. I know that he wants the ball. He never wants to come out, and he was pitching good. He was throwing the ball great. We got in the spot where we wanted to get to, and we talked about it all day yesterday and all day today. This was my fault.”
Harvey, of course, was the center of a controversy over his innings count, sparked by his agent Scott Boras. Ultimately, Harvey blew past the supposed doctor-mandated 180-innings limit.
Harvey is due for arbitration this offseason and could see a hefty pay raise. Had he been cut off at eight innings, Harvey likely would have finished his season on as strong a note as possible, with the possibility of a Mets win as the World Series went back to Kansas City. Instead, he’ll have this hanging over his head over the winter.
“I won’t be sleeping much the next couple of days, I’ll tell you that,” Collins concluded.
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