Zack Wheeler Pitches Impressively To Earn First Victory Of Season – Las Vegas 51’s Bury Reno Aces, 10-2

By Michael Lecolant

With each passing start, the surge of drama during Zack Wheeler‘s early season struggles increasingly played out like a soap opera, but the mini-series is finally over.  In response to growing speculation and recent criticisms, Zack Wheeler provided a terse 6.2 inning effort for any, and all his naysayers to ponder.  The Mets prized prospect pitched impressively Tuesday afternoon to end the month of April on a positive note.  After chronicling his woes this season, I’m happy to finally  summarize Zack Wheeler’s first win of the 2013 regular season.

Feb 21, 2013; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (65) poses for a picture during photo day at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas 51’s opened a road trip yesterday with a 9-5 victory over the Reno Aces.  In the second game played this Tuesday afternoon, Zack  Wheeler climbed the hill opposed by Reno’s Garrett Mock.  Making his sixth start of the season, Wheeler pitched marvelously into the seventh inning.  Zack allowed one earned run in the opening frame.  The first batter he faced singled, and later came home on a grounder to short, as Las Vegas ceded the run for a six-to-three put-out.  Wheeler struck out the final batter of the inning swinging.  In the second inning, he allowed two singles and struck out his second batter.  Over the next four innings, Zack Wheeler pitched on cruise control.  Starting with the third out of the second inning, Wheeler retired the next eleven Reno Aces in a row.  His  consecutive string was broken with one out in the sixth, when Wilmer Flores misplayed a ground ball at second.  Wheeler then retired the next two batters in order.

In his seventh inning of work, Zack Wheeler allowed a lead-off single.  After securing his eighth strikeout of the game, and recording out number two on a force out at second, Wheeler walked center fielder Evan Frey to put runners on first and second.  But Wally Backman‘s trip to the mound signaled the end of Wheeler’s afternoon.  Armando Rodriguez came in from the pen, and struck out his man for out number three.  In all, Zack Wheeler allowed five hits, and one run in 6.2 innings.  His earned run averaged dropped from 5.79 to a 4.80 mark.  This also was Wheeler’s first venture of the season into the seventh inning.  His previous longest outing was 5.1 innings.  Zack only issued one walk, and matched his season high of eight strikeouts.  Wheeler now has thirty-six strikeouts in thirty innings this season.  His record now stands at 1-1, with four no-decisions.

By the time Reno scored again in the ninth, the 51’s had already posted ten runs, on nine hits.  Andrew Brown led the assault with a bases loaded clearing double in the seventh inning.  Back in the third, Las Vegas gave Wheeler a 3-1 lead, as Reno starter Garrett Mock suffered through an awful inning, as a double, two hit batters, a fielder’s choice and a walk were capped off by Zack Wheeler’s own RBI single.  Later in the eighth inning, a single, double, three walks, two wild pitches and a fielder’s choice translated into four more Las Vegas runs, and capped off the 51’s scoring for the game.

Your final score was 10-2, Las Vegas over Reno.  Game three of this four game series is scheduled for Wednesday, May 1st.  The victory was not only individually significant for Zack Wheeler.  The game was the 51’s tenth win of the season, which raised their overall record back to the .500 mark.  As of post time, Las Vegas sat tentatively in third place of the Pacific Southern Division, 1.5 games behind the Fresno Grizzlies.

I guess there is nothing left to see here folks.  You can get back to your farms now.  All is well.  Zack Wheeler is fine.  Thank you for your concern.

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