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Winning Fixes Almost Everything

For one night, not even the biggest Terry Collins [1] hater could quibble with his bullpen management.

Has Bartolo Colon [2] ever been better in a Met uniform? He simply throttled the Marlins in recording the Mets’ first complete game of the year, even contributing a highlight-of-forever play by flipping a ball behind his back to Eric Campbell [3], your latest Met irregular pressed into service at first base. An astonished Campbell was laughing even before the out was official; Colon did the same, strolling across the first-base line with the post-canary grin of a cat who’s going to put up 15 wins at age 42. At this point we should stop asking how long Colon will pitch; it’s obvious he’ll pitch as long as he wants to, adding more guile to the mix as ticks come off the fastball but somehow staying effective, like an endomorphic Satchel Paige [4].

(Would it be unsporting to take this moment to remind a good chunk of Metdom that a couple of weeks ago Everything Was Ruined™ unless Colon was released THIS VERY MINUTE NO OH MY GOD THIS VERY SECOND I’M CALLING THE FAN TO YELL SO LOUD THEY’LL HEAR NOTHING BUT STATIC AHHHHHHH!!1!!1!1!! It would be? Too bad.)

Anyway, facing the inevitable question about innings limits, Colon offered wryly that there’s no such thing at his age. Which brings us to the latest crisis in Metland, the embarrassingly public spat between Scott Boras and Sandy Alderson over Matt Harvey [5]‘s innings limit, with Harvey in the middle grumbling gnomically and a horrified Dr. James Andrews screening his calls.

When this first became A Thing I dismissed it as the usual talk-radio bullshit; after Harvey’s comments today it’s a bit harder to hand-wave the whole mess away. But still, for now I’m treating it like a hurricane churning away in the Caribbean — keep an eye on it, but there’s no reason to board up the windows and stock up on canned food yet.

At least for once it doesn’t seem to be the Mets’ fault. Over the last 12 months Harvey has tried to pitch before it was advisable and publicly moaned and groaned about being taken out early, skipped in the rotation or slotted in as one of six. Now, all of a sudden, he’s mumbling about having two starts left before he has to become a spectator because, um, well, you know, it’s prudent to listen to the experts. It’s not a good look, to say the least; he’s going to spend every minute until his next start getting a pummeling in the court of Gotham public opinion, and rightly so.

Maybe I’m slow, but I can’t quite figure out what Boras is after here. If he waited until now to raise an innings limit he’s had in mind for months, not only the Mets but also Harvey should be furious with him, because his client’s the one who looks like the bad guy. An agent’s job is to prevent that from happening, and this isn’t the first time Harvey’s been publicly embarrassed by a situation Team Boras should never have let develop — remember the Qualcomm debacle? I’ll give Boras the benefit of the doubt that he’s sincerely trying to protect a young pitcher’s arm — or at least the massive payday that arm represents — but goodness is he ever making a mess of it.

One imagines this will get sorted out somehow and Harvey will pitch as long as there’s a reason to — he’s a ferocious competitor, and he’s savvy enough to know that ducking out of fall duty will ensure two decades of answering accusations about being a traitorous shitheel, to put it only slightly more generously than a generation of columnists will. (Here’s the normally even-keeled Mike Vaccaro firing off a mortar round [6].) Whatever happens, Harvey’s reputation has already taken a hit, and judging from Alderson’s comments this afternoon [7], the GM’s already pretty furious and not likely to cheer up anytime soon.

It’s always something around here, isn’t it? But perspective, people. The Mets won tonight [8] and were able to cruise doing it. The Nats didn’t lose, but they lost another day off the calendar, which at this point is almost as bad. Oh, and their next opponent’s a bit tougher than the Braves.

And hey, you got to see Bartolo Colon do things no 42-year-old should be able to do. That was good too.