Every time Matt Harvey takes the mound, there's the chance for something incredible to happen. He leads the Senior Circuit in strikeouts and is firmly entrenched as a National League Cy Young Award contender, despite playing for the fourth-place Mets. He's already taken no-hitters into the sixth inning on six separate occasions.
But a time will come this season when those remarkable feats will end. It will be a fluid situation until Harvey is shut down, but Thursday at Marlins Park brings the latest, and perhaps one of the last, opportunities to watch Harvey in all his brilliance in 2013.
"The issue becomes, down the road obviously, the message being sent if you've got to start pulling these guys after five innings," New York manager Terry Collins said. "We talked about, 'Hey look, we'll start him and take him out after X amount of pitches. ... What if he's throwing a no-hitter. What message does that send?'"
The Mets have remedied this problem to some extent by using a six-man rotation. Harvey has an innings limit, as does Zack Wheeler, who took a no-hitter of his own into the sixth inning on Tuesday. Still, Harvey is approaching his final 10 or so starts. Wheeler likely has fewer than 10, Collins said. Thursday will be Harvey's first start as part of the new, expanded rotation, and the starting pitcher has yielded just three earned runs in 45 innings with five or more days' rest, while logging 55 strikeouts and just five walks.
Miami will try to counter that with a young arm of its own -- rookie Tom Koehler. The righty will make his third start since joining the rotation. He struggled last time out, allowing five runs and nine hits in five innings against the Pirates on Saturday, and can't let that happen again. Harvey probably won't make too many mistakes -- especially not with an extra day's rest.
"You keep the team close within striking distance, especially with the way we've been playing, we have a chance," Koehler said. "The thing is you just never want to get down by a crooked number early. It's about keeping the team in it."
Mets: Wins hard to come by for Harvey
Harvey has posted an incredible 1.98 ERA in his last six starts, but amazingly has just two wins to show for it. New York is just 3-3 in those six games and somehow has just three more wins than losses this season in games that Harvey starts.
There's a phrase that Harvey's repeated throughout the season following even the most tantalizingly close defeats to the point that it's almost become cliche.
"My job is to go out there and put up zeros," Harvey often says, and said once again after a loss to the Nationals on Friday.
Marlins: Stanton's streak continues
For the 13th consecutive game at Marlins Park, Giancarlo Stanton stood on base. The outfielder extended his streak of safely reaching base to 13 games in the first inning of Wednesday's 3-2 win over the Mets with a two-out walk. Stanton went hitless and is now 13-for-32 during the streak, but chipped in a sacrifice fly for his ninth RBI in his last 10 games at home.
Stanton has recorded a hit in eight of his last 10 home games, with four doubles and four home runs.
• Despite the fact it ranks last in the Majors in runs scored, Miami has been one of the few teams to touch Harvey on a consistent basis this season. In three starts against the Marlins, Harvey has a 3.12 ERA, 1.558 WHIP and a .333 batting average against.
• The last time Harvey started a game against Miami, he conceded just one earned run in seven innings before leaving with an injury -- 13 innings before the game ended. The Marlins defeated the Mets, 2-1, in 20 innings.
David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.