Terry Collins has taken responsibility for leaving Matt Harvey in the game in that fateful ninth inning of Game 5 of the World Series.
To recap, after eight shutout innings and 102 pitches with the Mets clinging to a 2-0 lead, Collins decided to take Harvey out of the game.
“He just came over and said, ‘I want this game. I want it bad. You’ve got to leave me in,’ ” Collins said. “I said, ‘Matt, you’ve got us exactly where we wanted to get.’ He said, ‘I want this game in the worst way.’
“So, obviously, I let my heart get in the way of my gut. I love my players. And I trust them. And so I said, ‘Go get ’em out.’ ”
“I would ask for the ball every time,” Harvey said. “Going into the ninth, I felt great. I felt like my mechanics, everything was right where I wanted it to be. As a competitor and as a person, I always want the ball. That’s what I’ve said all year long. In this situation I wanted the ball. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out.”
Harvey allowed a leadoff walk to Lorenzo Cain. Collins still left him in the game, defying conventional wisdom that he would be removed at the first sign of trouble.
“If you’re going to let him just face one guy, you shouldn’t have sent him out there,” Collins said.
It was only after Eric Hosmer’s RBI double that Collins came out with the hook.
“When the double (was) hit, that’s when I said, ‘I’ve got to see if we can get out of this with only one run.’ And it didn’t work. It was my fault.”
Jeurys Familia would allow the tying run, and the Mets would lose it in 12.
“In a perfect world, it would have been a lot different,” Harvey said. “It’s kind of how it played out. I wanted the ball. He obviously wanted to go to Familia there. But the way the game was going, and the way I felt, I felt like I wanted to control the game and go out there for the ninth.”
I don’t think anyone blames Terry Collins for leaving in Harvey. After all, he was pitching very well and had a reasonable pitch count. It was leaving him in after the walk that raised eyebrows. With a two-run lead, one mistake could not cost the Mets the lead. But two mistakes could, and ultimately that’s what happened.