The Cubs magic number is 18 – how cool is that? I try not to focus too intently on the postseason, given that there are still so many meaningful games left to play, but I haven’t even said the phrase “magic number” in relation to the Cubs in so long. One day at a time – life goes on and so does the news from around the league …
- After some confusion and a lot of hullabaloo over how many innings he would pitch this season, Matt Harvey clarified/augmented his previous remarks in a brief, personal statement at The Player’s Tribune. In short, Harvey does plan on limiting his innings down the stretch, but only so he will in fact be able to pitch in the postseason, should the Mets make it there. He assures fans that he, his agent, his doctor and the entire Mets organization are on the same page and the number of innings he is planning on pitching was a compromise agreed upon by all parties.
- Previously, we had heard an inning limit of somewhere between 180-185 innings, but now it would seem that number is up to 200, but includes the playoffs … where he could be on a 60ish pitch count (USA Today).
- Matt Harvey has pitched 171.2 innings so far in 2015 (including an ugly 5.1 innings last night), so that target gives him roughly 25-30 innings to play with for the rest of the season AND the playoffs. If the Mets make any sort of meaningful run in the postseason, then, Harvey will not be able to pitch nearly as often as he would have otherwise.
- Ken Rosenthal jumps into the story, deconstructing the fallout Harvey and agent Scott Boras will face for this relatively publicized ordeal. For what it’s worth, I understand why a pitcher – especially one with Harvey’s injury history – might self-impose an artificial inning limit. There might never be the right time to do it, so you have to do it when you can. HOWEVA, I can understand why Mets fans would be upset about this. Harvey is legitimately very good and playing without him will hurt. I do hope that the “inning limit” is just how Harvey and the Mets (#NewBandName) are explaining this all to the public, and the Mets actually have a much more sophisticated measurement that includes pitch counts, pitch types, inning stress/leverage, etc. Should be an interesting story to follow.
- Mike Axisa has an interesting read on some other key, young pitchers from contending teams who plan to implement inning limits down the September stretch into the playoffs. Specifically, Axisa mentions Gerrit Cole, Carlos Martinez, Lance McCullers Jr., Luis Severino, Noah Syndergaard and Michael Wacha. Overall, these are some high profile names from some teams that are, incidentally, directly related to the Chicago Cubs. I do suspect, though, that the Cardinals rather significant lead is allowing them to rest their pitchers a bit more than they may have otherwise.
- Matt Garza – who is two years into a four year, $50M contract with the Milwaukee Brewers – is being shut down for the rest of the season, though for reasons unrelated to inning limits or injury. After his last start on Saturday – 4.2 IP 7 H 4 BB and 4 ER against the Reds – manager Craig Counsel announced that Garza will be shut down for the rest of the year, so that his rotation spot can be used to audition young pitchers from their minor league system. Ouch. If you know Matt Garza, you know that he would not, and did not, take this too well. You can check out this article from Brewers.com for some more details and unhappy quotes from Garza. This feels like one of those moves which even if it may help the franchise in the long haul, it might not be worth upsetting a veteran and a clubhouse in an otherwise lost year. On the season, Garza has a 5.63 ERA (4.95 FIP) over just 148.2 IP.
- Jonathon Papelbon and Bryce Harper have some bones to pick with their fans who, apparently, aren’t providing the support the big time closer and young slugger think the Nationals deserve. Specifically, Harper noticed a lot of fans leaving early in a tight game against the Mets, and Papelbon mentioned fans sitting down during very high leverage situations. It’s tough to decide what to make of that. I’m sure the players may look to draw a bit of adrenaline from a loud, boisterous supportive fan base, but it’s hard to dismiss the obvious, yet unexpected struggles of an underperforming Nationals team.
FWIW the Cardinals have reputation for being best sign stealers in baseball, bar none. Players on other teams have grudging respect for it.
— Molly Knight (@molly_knight) September 8, 2015
- This is a strange world we live in, friends:
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) September 7, 2015