After rough outing, Matt Harvey says he'll be ready whenever the Mets start him

WASHINGTON -- When will Matt Harvey next pitch in a game for the New York Mets? The right-hander offered little insight after he allowed a career-high-matching seven runs, then watched his teammates rally for a season-defining 8-7 win against the Washington Nationals on Tuesday.

"I have no idea," Harvey said after his season innings count rose to 171⅔. "I’ll just be ready for it."

Will it be only one more regular-season start?

"I have no idea," Harvey said. "Whenever they’re ready, I’ll be ready for it. And whatever they decide moving forward, I’m ready, and I’ll make sure I’m ready."

Harvey allowed a pair of first-inning runs Tuesday. Things truly unraveled in the sixth, when Michael Taylor delivered a bases-loaded single to center field. The ball hopped over center fielder Yoenis Cespedes' glove. A three-base error resulted in Taylor racing home for a 7-1 Nationals lead.

"Everything felt good," Harvey said. "I just left, obviously, way too many pitches over the middle of the plate, and they got a lot of contact and the balls went through -- kind of went their way. Overall, my body felt fine. My arm felt great. Obviously not the outcome I would have liked."

Harvey had been the focal point entering the game, given it was Day 5 of a public squabble over how many innings would be his cap. Agent Scott Boras had publicly stated Friday that exceeding 180 innings in Harvey's first season back from Tommy John surgery would "imperil" him.

"Obviously in the first inning his command wasn’t real good," Mets manager Terry Collins said Tuesday. "I think he was trying to show everybody he was who he is, and I think he overthrew a little bit, to be honest. I really do. You look at the replays and he missed a lot of spots because he was trying too hard. It’s human nature.

"I was very proud of him to go out with that monkey on his back. The way he was carrying that load out there on that mound is tough to pitch with. He did the best he could tonight. You know what? We’ll get him ready for whenever he’s going to pitch again. Hopefully he relaxes and has a better night."

With the Mets opening a six-game division lead over Washington, there should be less outrage about how much Harvey pitches down the stretch. Logan Verrett is likely to get the next turn in Harvey's spot as the Mets go to a six-man rotation.

"I’ve got a boss and I’ll sit with my boss and we’ll do some things," Collins said. "I still believe Matt Harvey, deep inside, wants to pitch."

Collins nonetheless agreed that the wider the lead, the easier it is to rest Harvey. Still, the manager added: "But we’ve also got to keep the guy sharp enough to help us if we do happen to play in the playoffs. You’ve got to mix that in, too."

Said Harvey: "I have a couple of mechanical things to work on. Whenever they decide to throw me back out there, I’m going to be ready. I’m definitely excited for it."

Asked if the past few days had been distracting for him, Harvey stuck with the big-win theme.

"I think we’re excited about the win right now. That’s huge for us," Harvey said.

Asked about his manager’s characterization that he took anger to the mound with him Tuesday night, Harvey added: "I think we all knew the importance of the game. For me, I just wanted to go out there and put up zeroes. I wasn’t able to do that. But, ultimately, we won the game and that’s huge. I think we’re all excited about that."