Manager Terry Collins said Wednesday that the team will almost certainly skip Harvey in the rotation once more before the end of the season, something that should prove less painful if they can maintain their 6 1/2-game National League East lead throughout September. The goal is to keep Harvey within the roughly 185- to 190-inning soft limit that the Mets and their doctors set back in Spring Training; skipping him would result in four more starts, almost certainly placing him within or below that range.
The Mets will not, however, skip Harvey next week in Washington. He will pitch the middle game of a series that could decide the NL East, slotting between Jon Niese and Jacob deGrom. deGrom will also open this weekend's series in Miami, with Bartolo Colon pitching Saturday and Steven Matz on Sunday. The team is skipping Noah Syndergaard's turn through the rotation, with an eye toward moving to a six-man set next week.
In Washington, the Mets will have their two top pitchers lined up to throw, similar to how the Nationals aligned their three top starters. But Niese will pitch the first game, fresh off three straight outings in which he allowed five or more runs.
"This was set down a long time ago," Collins said. "I'm all done juggling all the pieces. I just told Jon last night when I took him out, I said, 'OK, you've had a couple of bad outings. The next game's the biggest game you've ever pitched in your life. So get ready for it.'"
The Mets have said that none of their pitchers will operate under an innings restriction should the club reach the postseason.
Yet they are nonetheless being cautious with Harvey, who is nearing the two-year anniversary of his Tommy John surgery. The right-hander came out of Wednesday's game after 101 pitches in what seemed like a lackluster performance by his own high standards; only afterward did a Mets spokesman reveal that Harvey began experiencing dehydration symptoms during the game. He was still in the trainer's room nearly an hour after it, unavailable to discuss his condition.
The Mets insisted that they are not concerned.
"He'll be ready for his next start," Collins said, referring to Tuesday in Washington, "and that's what counts."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.