Tonight the Mets started their four-game set against the San Diego Padres coming after a sweep by the red hot Dodgers. Zack Wheeler (5-2, 3.63 ERA) went against the Padres’ Tyson Ross (3-5, 2.70 ERA). Wheeler looked to build upon his brilliant outing that he had against the Diamondbacks. John Buck‘s wife had yet to give birth by the time the game started, so he was doing the catching while Travis d’Arnaud was still in Las Vegas.
Aug 15, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) throws during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Zack Wheeler started out on fire, striking out five batters in just the first two innings, one more strikeout than he had all last start in Arizona. He mixed his curve in well to quickly cast aside the San Diego hitters.
Wheeler was saved in the third by Eric Young, Jr. when Rene Rivera hit a ball that looked to be a homer, but young leaped over the wall and knocked it back into play and held Rivera to a triple. Wheeler worked around it and finished the inning with two more strikeouts.
The Mets were on the board in the fourth when Daniel Murphy scored on an “infield hit” by Josh Satin. Ronny Cedeno appeared to clearly throw out Satin, but Yonder Alonso was ruled off of first base. Replays showed he was not, but the Mets took a 1-0 lead anyway. The Mets had to be thrilled the challenge system was not yet in place on this play.
The Padres didn’t let the lead last long as they tied the game in bottom half on a sacrifice fly, just barely scoring Chase Headley. Wheeler did work out of the jam and finished the inning with his ninth strikeout.
In the fifth the Friars nearly untied it on a single but Juan Lagares threw a strike to home plate to retire Tyson Ross and keep the game at 1-1. Wheeler recorded his 10 k in the inning, his first double-digit strikeout game in the majors.
Wheeler started the six with 99 pitches, allegedly because of a weak pen. He fanned Jed Gyorko to start the inning, number 11 on the night. Wheeler worked around a Chris Denorfia double and induced a groundout and punched out Ronny Cedeno to end the inning.
The Mets broke the tie in the eighth inning when Marlon Byrd doubled in two runs to give the Mets a 3-1 lead. Chris Denorfia misplayed the ball, allowing the ball to get over his head for an extra base hit. This came following an intentional walk to Daniel Murphy.
John Buck added a run to the board in the ninth with a solo homer off of the warehouse in left putting the Mets up 4-1.
- Zack Wheeler was brilliant. In his six innings he fanned a career-high 12 batters. He only allowed one run to score and only walked one. His pitch count got a bit high, and he threw 115, also a career high.
- Byrd came through for the second straight day with a huge double in the eight inning. He had two hits in the contest.
- Juan Lagares continues to shine in center, recording an outfield assist and a great diving grab in the eighth inning. His defense can’t be talked about enough.
- Gonzalez Germen worked both the eighth and ninth, getting all six outs to record his first ever Major League save.
Wheeler was impressive from the get-go in this one. He had the strikeout pitch working early and often. He had yet another strong start and continues to live up to the hype. Collins was gutsy bringing him out for the sixth but it ended up working out for the Mets. Wheeler looks better each and every start. His curve and slider were spot on tonight, leading to more ks.
Byrd, who had been slumping a bit without David Wright in the lineup, has played well the last two games. He had three hits against LA and had two tonight, including the clutch two-run double in the eighth.
The bullpen did not let the team down tonight with Germen going the final six outs. After three losses after leading in LA, this one felt good.