CINCINNATI -- Terry Collins did not want word to leak out, so he kept it a secret. Earlier in the week, Matt Harvey approached his manager and, in what amounted in many ways to an act of contrition, told him that he wanted to handle a full workload in Saturday's game. It wound up being the Mets' National League East clincher, a 10-2 victory over the Reds.
Over the previous three weeks, Harvey had become embroiled in a saga involving his agent, Scott Boras, the Mets, and an innings total that was not to escalate far beyond 180. Harvey entered Saturday's game just 10 outs shy of that mark, with another start scheduled for the following weekend at Citi Field.
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He no longer cared. With a goal of 100 pitches, Harvey wound up throwing 97, delivering 6 2/3 innings of two-run ball.
"I wasn't surprised," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. "It was going to have to be his decision. When he said that that's what he wanted to do, I was proud of him, actually, because he made his own decision."
The Mets have long maintained that, despite Boras' insistence that Harvey stay under 180 innings -- he's now at 183 1/3 and counting -- they will use him without hesitation come October. Harvey deflected a question regarding Game 1 of the National League Division Series, and it's true that Jacob deGrom remains the most likely candidate for that assignment.
But the Mets, for the first time in weeks, are now certain that they can rely on Harvey. They've seen it, in what Harvey called "the most important game of the year" for a franchise that had not reached the playoffs since 2006.
When Harvey walked off the field after the sixth inning, Collins asked him if he was done. Harvey said no, demanded the seventh, and nearly completed it.
Where he goes from here is anyone's guess.
"I wanted to be out there more than anybody," Harvey said. "I've always wanted to be out there. Especially these games coming down to October, the last thing I ever want to do is not be out there. Today, it just couldn't have played out any better."
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.