After Harvey allowed a career-high nine runs in a career-low 2 2/3 innings in a 9-1 rubber-game loss against the Nationals on Thursday night, manager Terry Collins indicated that Harvey might be temporarily bounced from the rotation to provide time for him to regroup.
Harvey's ERA soared to 5.77 as he continues to search for answers to his woeful start to 2016.
"We're going to take a look -- is that best for him, is that best for us?" Collins said. "We're not going to commit to anything at this time. But I will tell you, as I sit here today, I'd certainly trust him. I certainly believe in him. I hadn't seen him struggle like this before. But that guy that pitched tonight for them [Stephen Strasburg], he had a couple of mediocre years, and now he's resurged."
The most logical vehicle to give Harvey time to regroup would be to place him on the disabled list, although the Mets insist he is not suffering from a known injury. Harvey's next turn otherwise would come Tuesday at Nationals Park.
Asked whether he wanted to make that start or get time to regroup, Harvey said, "It's my job to go out there and keep working and try to figure this thing out. That's all I'm going to do is start over tomorrow and keep working hard and do everything I can to fix this."
Collins noted that Harvey has not been the same since dealing with a urinary tract infection late in spring training. So the manager suggested it might be worthwhile for Harvey to undergo medical testing.
"Most likely. We haven't gotten there yet," Collins said.
Collins said he believes Harvey is suffering from a hangover after logging 216 innings last season. That was the most innings ever in a first season back from Tommy John surgery.
"As I tried to explain to Matt again, there's some people that don't believe it -- this kid went above and beyond last year," Collins said. "And I'm not sure he's recuperated from it. I'm going to stand by it. It's not an excuse. We don't make excuses here. I think it might be a reason. I think there's a difference between a reason and an excuse. That's where I stand on it. I've told Matt, I still trust him. I still believe in him. I've seen him do it. But we'll take a hard look at what the next move is going to be."
Nationals phenom Bryce Harper agreed that last year's workload might be catching up to Harvey.
"It kind of goes back to, what, he had surgery last year and then he forced 230 innings?" Harper said. "I feel bad for him. He comes off the mound, and he gets booed. I work out with him in the offseason. Being around him a little bit when working out, he works his tail off. You never want to see a guy do that. All the best to him."
Harper added that he was surprised by Mets fans' booing Harvey as he left the field.
"As good as he was in the playoffs last year, to ... be one of the first guys to come back and throw 200 innings, that's tough," Harper said. "I think he's got a great arm. He's fun to watch, and I've always said that. He's one of the best in baseball. He'll come back. He always will. It's just part of the game."
Collins said the Mets have to restore Harvey's confidence.
"I truly believe this is a game where you've got to trust yourself, you've got to believe in yourself," Collins said. "When you don't have that, it's tough to compete at this level. I've talked to him already a couple of times. We'll take the next step and see where we are.
"There are two types of people in this game -- ones who have been humbled and ones who will be," the manager continued. "And if you've never been humbled, you don't know how to get through it. I had, in the past, when I was in Anaheim, two outstanding offensive players who got to the major leagues very, very fast. And at one time they weren't hitting, and they didn't know how to fix it because they had never been through a slump before. And at this level, that's a scary thing to have happen -- when you don't know how to fix something because you've never had to."
Added Harvey: "There's as many answers that I'd like to find as you guys are looking for. Right now, everybody saw the game. I'm not happy about it. I know nobody else is. I've got to pick up tomorrow and, like I've said all along, start over and keep looking for answers."