After Matt Harvey set the bar insanely high by striking out 13 and taking a no hitter into the 7th inning in the first game of today’s doubleheader, Zack Wheeler took the mound tonight looking to make an impact of his own. After a wobbly first inning, he did just that.
Wheeler was very shaky in the first, tossing only 8 of 23 pitches for strikes and walking two. However, he worked out of the jam while striking out two in the inning. After the first, he seemed to settle down a bit more as each inning passed. Wheeler worked around a one out double to strike out three in the second, and worked out of another jam in the third that was created by two bases on balls.
In the sixth, Wheeler had to deal with some horrific umpiring. With one out and B.J. Upton at first, Upton attempted to steal second and was thrown out. The second base umpire decided he was safe. Wheeler then got Brian McCann to go around on what should’ve been strike three. Instead, it was ruled that McCann held his swing. Basically, Wheeler had to record five outs in the sixth, and ended up getting the job done. He got Dan Uggla to strike out and Chris Johnson to pop out to escape the inning, end his night, and keep the game scoreless.
In the top of the seventh, the Mets put Wheeler in position for the win when Anthony Recker smoked a two run homer to dead center field to put the Mets up 2-0. The Braves got one of those runs back in the bottom half of the frame, when Justin Upton lofted a sacrifice fly to center field.
After Brandon Lyon worked out of further trouble in the seventh to keep the Mets up 2-1, New York blew the game open with four runs in the eighth. The first of those runs came in when an errant pickoff throw at second went past center fielder B.J. Upton and allowed Marlon Byrd to come around to score. Later in the frame, a Juan Lagares single drove in another to make it 4-1 Mets. Omar Quintanilla then put a bow on things by lining a two RBI single to right to extend the lead to 6-1. That closed out the scoring, and secured the Mets’ doubleheader sweep.
- Tonight was all about Zack Wheeler. He was clearly nervous early on, but he settled in nicely. Overall, he gave up 4 hits in 6 scoreless innings, walked 5 and struck out 7. After Wheeler exited the game in the 6th, the Mets plated 2 runs in the seventh and held on for the win. That enabled Wheeler to get the victory in his major league debut.
- Scott Atchison, who was activated from the disabled list earlier today, hurt himself while warming up in the 7th inning and was removed from the game.
- Anthony Recker delivered a 2 run homer in the 7th to break a scoreless tie.
- Josh Satin started at first base and went 1 for 3 with a walk.
- David Wright got his 1500th career hit in the 9th inning.
Mets fans have been waiting nearly two years for Zack Wheeler, and if tonight was any indication, the wait was worth it. Wheeler was wild early on, but righted himself and was downright electric at times during his six shutout frames. His fastball was typically between 95 and 97 MPH, touching 98. He didn’t utilize his secondary stuff nearly as much as he did during his final start in Las Vegas, but he broke off some tremendous curves. Wheeler also threw a bunch of electric sliders that ranged from 89 to 92 MPH. Six shutout innings and a victory in your major league debut is tremendous, and it’s clear that Wheeler’s potential is sky high.