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Before the Matt Harvey blame game begins …

Aug 26, 2013, 4:07 PM EDT

New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey pitches against the Chicago White Sox with a bloody nose during the first inning of their MLB Inter League baseball game at CitiField in New York Reuters

Matt Harvey being shut down with a partially-torn UCL is awful, awful news. I know now the official line is that they will wait and see how it goes, think about rehab over surgery and all of that, but really: when was the last time a pitcher successfully rehabbed a torn-UCL? It seems like they always end up having surgery.

So, as we contemplate being without Matt Harvey for a year — and not to full strength until the beginning of the 2015 season — let’s talk about the blame game. Because you know people will be doing so soon.

Except, I’m struggling to think of who should get blame. We may hear sourced-reports about this later, but I can’t recall anyone with knowledge of Harvey’s health and condition saying that the Mets were mishandling him. Overworking him. Ignoring signs of fatigue.  His workload hasn’t gone up in dramatic fashion from one year to the next (which is part of the somewhat dubious “Verducci Effect” theory). He’s had a handful of outings this season where he began innings after already over 100 pitches and topped 120 a couple of times, but no one ever said that 100 pitches was some magic number. Indeed, smarter thinking these days is that you have to watch pitchers individually for signs of fatigue rather than arbitrarily assigning the same pitch count to a horse like Harvey as you might a slight curveball artist.

No, Harvey getting shut down and likely needing surgery doesn’t appear to be a matter of the Mets abusing Harvey or some awful mechanical flaw. It’s just a matter of pitching living to break your heart. Maybe someday there will be a viable theory that predicts and can help prevent elbow injuries in pitchers, but for now it just feels like chaos and sadness. A chaos and a sadness that seems to have visited Mets pitching prospects in disproportionate fashion over the years.

  1. chill1184 - Aug 26, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    Yea but your logical take on the matter doesn’t apply to the mental midgets that run ESPN and Deadspin for example.

    • schlom - Aug 26, 2013 at 6:30 PM

      Don’t forget to include Yahoo Sports:

      • chill1184 - Aug 26, 2013 at 7:26 PM

        Oh yea how I can forget uber-douche Jeff Passan

      • jarathen - Aug 27, 2013 at 7:29 AM

        Will Carroll did a big piece about it.

        The one thing he talks about that the Mets didn’t do is biomechanical study.

  2. DelawarePhilliesFan - Aug 26, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    I blame the Body Issue

    • chill1184 - Aug 26, 2013 at 4:18 PM

      That will be the topic of NY Post’s article on it tomorrow

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Aug 26, 2013 at 4:20 PM

        Ahhh, good point. I can see it now in huge letters “MORE BODY ISSUES”

    • chill1184 - Aug 26, 2013 at 4:24 PM

      Maybe but some clowns in the NY media was linking the body issue to when Mark Sanchez did some photo shoots. Harvey had a rough outing after the issue came out so the old “maybe he should focus on pitching” lines came out.

      They also forget that Harvey had something Sanchez hasn’t; talent. All this will be rehashed again in the next few days

    • proudlycanadian - Aug 26, 2013 at 4:51 PM

      The Body Issue Jinx explains a lot. Last year it was Bautista’s wrist. Now it is Harvey’s elbow.

      • weaselpuppy - Aug 26, 2013 at 6:25 PM

        One would think it would cause (ahem) repetitive trauma wrist and elbow injuries to the readers and not the models in the Body Issue….

        well, unless those guys are massive Narcissists…

      • tfbuckfutter - Aug 26, 2013 at 6:35 PM

        That’s what happened to Alex Rodriguez’ hip.

        He wore it out humping a mirror after seeing that one picture of himself loving himself in the mirror.

    • indaburg - Aug 26, 2013 at 7:41 PM

      I take full responsibility. Sorry.

  3. earpaniac - Aug 26, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    Good points. But you know it will happen. Unfortunately people don’t like to hear,”It just happened.” In today’s society it makes people feel better to be able to place blame on somebody.

    • jdouble777 - Aug 26, 2013 at 6:48 PM

      Because that is moronic and careless, no? Something happened….obviously. It is pretty safe to say his workload was no exactly light and for a guy that throws that hard…might have be smarter to stretch it over a couple of season. Call me crazy. Last I checked they were not in contention.

      • hammyofdoom - Aug 26, 2013 at 7:01 PM

        He’s thrown about 15 innings more than he did last year. His workload WASN’T too much, he’s thrown not even 180 innings this year. Crap happens

  4. sdelmonte - Aug 26, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    Strasburg seems fine now.


  5. tfbuckfutter - Aug 26, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    Maybe it’s possible that throwing an object as hard as you can is an act that is somewhat trying on the body. And doing it over and over again isn’t how the human body is designed.

    So maybe the fact that so many pitchers break down is because they are doing an act that the body wasn’t really designed to do frequently, and they are doing it incredibly frequently.

    Maybe instead of highlighting the fact that most pitchers eventually face arm and shoulder problems we should appreciate the lucky few who are durable.

    Oh I know, back in the day Pud Magoo and Two Fingers Brownshoes would throw 250 pitches a game 100 games a year….and people are just bigger pussies now and should get over it.

    • rbj1 - Aug 26, 2013 at 4:22 PM

      So let’s blame those who invented baseball (and not Abner Doubleday.)

      Or, we could just blame A-Rod, because, something.

    • rje49 - Aug 26, 2013 at 4:27 PM

      Exactly. I was reading about a famous 26 inning game on May 1, 1920 – Brooklyn vs. Boston. Both pitchers pitched all 26 innings. It was obvious pitchers did not throw as hard as they could back then. And of course, there were .400 hitters, etc. because of it.

    • TheMorningStar - Aug 26, 2013 at 4:58 PM

      Galvin and Brown = real men. Pitch counts? Inning limitations?? ‘Body’ Issues???

      Pud Mcgoo? ‘Two Fingers’ Brownshoes? You been hanging with Lamar Odom?

      • tfbuckfutter - Aug 26, 2013 at 5:06 PM

        Snarky amalgams.

    • tommyshih - Aug 26, 2013 at 6:03 PM

      Bigger (but weaker) pussies for sure.

  6. sawxalicious - Aug 26, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    With the money invested in these athletes, it might be a good idea to get an MRI after every start.

    • danaking - Aug 26, 2013 at 4:39 PM

      I asked someone knowledgeable about MRIs about this once, and they said that’s not a good idea, either, as MRIs can have similar ill effects on the body as can x-rays if done too frequently.

      Young pitchers get hurt. Thankfully a lot more of them come back than ever before.

      As a very wise man once said, so it goes.

      • hammyofdoom - Aug 26, 2013 at 7:03 PM

        I didn’t know about MRI’s having ill effects. Thanks for that actually, good bit of information to have

      • indaburg - Aug 26, 2013 at 7:51 PM

        Not exactly, dana. I’m a nurse (fellow health care providers, please correct me if I’m wrong). X-rays and CT scans use ionizing radiation. MRIs, or magnetic resonance imaging, as its name states, uses magnetic energy to produce a very detailed image. Great for visualizing soft tissue like muscle. Your friend was right in that it isn’t a good idea for someone to be exposed to these powerful magnets too often. My worry would also be repeated exposure to the contrast agents used to make these images “pop.” They are very tough on the kidney. “Mr
        Harvey, great news! Your UCL looks great. But now you need a kidney transplant. Hate it when that happens.”

  7. number42is1 - Aug 26, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    the blame game is useless here.. it just plain sucks.. and this is coming from a Yankees fan. This kid was amazing to watch and he had greatness written all over him. Perhaps he still does but it will be at least 2015 before we see it again. And yea… i know that a bunch of folks are gonna point out the Strassburg injury and how he is just as good as he was before but that is ONE out of 100’s.

    I hope for a full recovery for this kid.

  8. shawndc04 - Aug 26, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    I don’t know (and I agree that Verducci has been debunked), but a jump from 59 inings last year to 178 this year with some high pitch counts seems a big jump to me.

    • flamethrower101 - Aug 26, 2013 at 4:24 PM

      The 59 innings were just major league innings. I think he had thrown like 150 innings total between minors and majors last year. So really not that big of a jump.

      • shawndc04 - Aug 26, 2013 at 4:31 PM

        You are correct that he threw 110 innings at Buffalo last year. Ii may sound counter-intuitive, but I’m not sure I equate minor league innings/pitches to the majors, but that’s just my thought.

      • Bryz - Aug 26, 2013 at 5:08 PM

        Ah yes, pitchers are less likely to get hurt in high school / college / minor leagues because those aren’t the same innings as in the majors. I’ll go tell Kyle Gibson that he didn’t really tear his elbow ligament a couple years ago.

    • proudlycanadian - Aug 26, 2013 at 5:02 PM

      The Verducci effect was debunked when and by whom?

      • jarathen - Aug 27, 2013 at 7:16 AM

        The Verducci Effect pulled apart like slow-cooked pork:

      • proudlycanadian - Aug 27, 2013 at 7:30 AM

        I read that link and thought that it was a very weak piece of analysis and a misrepresentation of Verducci’s work.

      • jarathen - Aug 27, 2013 at 7:34 AM

        It’s certainly not the only argument out there, but I think the general takeaway from most arguments is that the Effect is overblown. It is not deficient of any and all merit, but it’s more of an ingredient in the stew than the base itself.

      • proudlycanadian - Aug 27, 2013 at 7:51 AM

        I found the Deadspin story to be intellectually dishonest. Verducci does not say that every young pitcher who has a sharp increase in his workload will break down or have a bad year. He actually expected that Sale would be an exception this year because the White Sox pitching coach handles young pitchers very well. He does show that a very high percentage of young pitchers who fit his criteria, either have a bad year or suffer an injury.

    • flamethrower101 - Aug 26, 2013 at 5:06 PM

      Minor league pitching is obviously not the same as major league pitching but as far as the workload itself, it’s not a huge jump. It’s not like what the Rangers did to poor David Clyde back in the day. They’ve been careful with him workload wise. This stuff just happens sometimes.

      Too bad GM & Manger can’t even agree on how long he’s been getting treated for it.

    • antaresrex - Aug 26, 2013 at 9:09 PM

      He faced more batters last year between AAA and the bigs than he did this year, in four more starts. He has faced more batters per start than last year (26.5 against 23.9), but 11% doesn’t seem like a terrible increase.

  9. flamethrower101 - Aug 26, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    According to Terry Collins, he was completely unaware that Harvey was dealing with forearm issues. Problem is that completely contradicts what Sandy Alderson said in that same conference, in that he had been treating Harvey since SPRING TRAINING!

    How is there such a disconnect between front office and manager that they can’t even agree on THAT?

    • mulletcork - Aug 26, 2013 at 4:39 PM

      Exactly!!! Great post.

      As a Mets fan for 30 years, these clowns disgust me. Terry Collins is a mental midget and he wouldn’t be employed if it wasn’t for this piece of trash Alderson keeping him around as his little puppet. These two sicken me and to make matters worse, Alderson is going to reward this moron Collins with a contract extension after 3 miserable years. Terrible.

      How they can’t even be on the same page in a press conference for the worst day in recent franchise history is absolutely mind numbing.

    • Francisco (FC) - Aug 26, 2013 at 4:47 PM

      Maybe they can’t agree on what they’re going to say to the press but privately acknowledge the issues.

    • hammyofdoom - Aug 26, 2013 at 7:04 PM

      Honestly? I think it was Sandy Alderson trying to take all the pressure off of his young guy by saying that that, meanwhile Collins took the pressure off of HIMSELF by saying that he had no idea about the forearm issue. If the issue was out there and he kept pitching, that’s on Collins: if he didn’t tell anyone and just kept pitching, thats all on Harvey

  10. eshine76 - Aug 26, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    I blame the Wilpons and their involvement with Bernie Madoff. You shouldn’t tempt Karma by looking for ways to manipulate Harvey’s schedule just so you can make more money at the ballpark.

  11. El Bravo - Aug 26, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    I blame ARod.

  12. bougin89 - Aug 26, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    I don’t know about the rest of you but I’m going to blame Al Qaeda and of course Alex Rodriquez.

  13. ramblingalb - Aug 26, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    Harvey threw 110+ pitches eight times this year. The Brewers have thrown 110+ four times this year.

    • mjames1229 - Aug 26, 2013 at 6:10 PM

      That’s because Brewers pitchers hamstrings blow out WAY before 110 pitches.

  14. coloradogolfcoupons - Aug 26, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    “(which is part of the somewhat dubious “Verducci Effect” theory)”

    Dubious? Your calling it dubious is dubious to me.

    I’ve been following Vereducci’s study of young pitchers and their workloads since it began, and I see nothing ‘dubious’ in it. In fact, as a former pitcher who was overworked at a youngage to the extent I had bone chips in my elbow at 14 and a blown out shoulder at 18, I applaud Verducci’s effort to bring attention to a subject that most owners, managers, and GM’s ignored for years, to the ruination of some of the best pitchers in the game. With hundreds of millions of dollars now invested in Ace pitchers, this is not dubious in the least. It is looking out for the player’s and team’s futures, not just the here and now. You either take care of them now, or close the barn door after the horse already escaped, which in this case has already happened.

    • supersnappy - Aug 26, 2013 at 6:57 PM

      Baseball Prospectus’ Russell A. Carleton did a thorough examination of the Verducci effect, and his conclusion is that its not, by itself, something you can put a lot of stock in. (The article might be behind a paywall)

  15. crookedstick - Aug 26, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    I blame Dusty Baker…he’s responsible for all pitcher injuries isn’t he?

    • jaguar0413 - Aug 26, 2013 at 11:19 PM

      I don’t know. Jim Riggleman could give him a run for his money (Kerry Wood and Strasburg).

  16. Reflex - Aug 26, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    No known bad mechanical issues(Inverted W/Inverted L/etc). Not abused in innings or pitch count. Sounds like unlucky genetics to me. Sad. He still deserves ROY, and perhaps in 2015 he’ll win comeback player of the year…

  17. zacksdad - Aug 26, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    I blame the Washington Nationals. They set the precedent to shut their Ace pitcher down when you are in a pennant race. Now they have their Ace pitcher for this whole year and they can watch the pennant race from their couch.

    • jaguar0413 - Aug 26, 2013 at 11:17 PM

      Classic trolling…Strasburg is pitching better this year than he did last year. He’s going deeper into games. Lower ERA and WHIP, better K/BB ratio. As a Nats fan, I think it is pretty clear that they made the right decision for Stras’ future.

      As for the team, I don’t think they win it last year even with Strasburg. Nobody pays attention to the fact that he was downright terrible in his last two starts before the shutdown last year. Clearly fatigued and pressing throughout the month of August. I’m not sure he makes that much of a difference.

  18. chacochicken - Aug 26, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    I have no horse in the race. This is only meant to be informative.
    Anti-Verducci Effect testing/writings

  19. eatitfanboy - Aug 26, 2013 at 7:37 PM

    How many young pitchers does this have to happen to before we realize that this is just something that happens to young pitchers? It’s no one’s fault and it’s not the end of the world.

  20. kev86 - Aug 26, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    Bad karma under the Wilpons. Believe it! They must sell !!!!

  21. mungman69 - Aug 26, 2013 at 8:38 PM

    I feel bad for Harvey, that’s for sure, and I feel sorry for the real diehard Mets fans. I don’t feel sorry for that stinking Mets front office or their clown of an owner. AND I don’t feel sorry for those Met fans that can’t be found till the Mets are winning. LOOK at the stands at CITI field tonight. There is only a few thousand fans at the game. Hell, there are 14 million people within an hour of that ballpark but most New Yorkers couldn’t be bothered.

  22. jaguar0413 - Aug 26, 2013 at 11:08 PM

    Successful Tommy John Patients:
    Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman, Adam Wainwright, Josh Johnson, Chris Carpenter, Erik Bedard, Edinson Volquez, Tim Hudson, Ryan Dempster, Anibal Sanchez, CJ Wilson, John Smoltz, among others.

    Mets fans need not panic too much. Harvey will probably come back at the same level. Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann are pitching better now than before their surgeries. Just be glad it wasn’t a shoulder injury.

  23. Chris K - Aug 27, 2013 at 1:17 AM

    Who did this to Matt Harvey and how can I blame Dusty Baker?

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