Mets: Zack Wheeler bounces back
Zack Wheeler‘s debut may have not gone according to plan, but his second start of the year showed that Wheeler can still be a productive arm for the New York Mets.
Wheeler came out of the gates on Wednesday night looking to right a wrong, after the Marlins hung five runs in four innings Friday night, causing an early exit. Wheeler lacked control against the Marlins, resulting in him throwing a heavy dosage of fastballs, and breaking pitches that could not find the zone for strikes.
Before Wednesday’s start against the Phillies, pitching coach Dan Warthen came out and stated that Wheeler was getting a mulligan due to the weather during Friday night’s start. Warthen in an interview with the New York Daily News claimed that Wheeler was unable to get a feel for breaking pitches due to the wet conditions.
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The weather was a definite factor that night in Flushing, but Warthen’s claims seemed to be a stretch since Wei-Yin Chen had no issues mowing down the Mets lineup. Warthen went on to tell the Daily News that he will evaluate Wheeler after Wednesday night’s start.
While it seemed ridiculous to put that much onus on the weather after Wheeler’s first start in over two years, last night’s performance suggests otherwise. Wheeler was money from the get-go against the Phillies, consistently hitting 95 mph with his fastball, controlling all of his breaking pitches, and limiting the amount of fly balls the Phillies lineup could muster. All of which Wheeler could not do against Miami just five days prior.
Wheeler was removed from the game after five and two thirds innings pitched for loading the bases with Maikel Franco coming to the dish. While some might have left Wheeler in the game to face Franco, Wheeler looked to be attempting to throw the perfect pitch in the sixth inning, instead of just hitting the target, resulting in a loss of control.
The Mets looked to Hansel Robles to get them out of the inning, which resulted in Franco blasting a grand slam to left center field, crushing many Wheeler fantasy owners hearts.
So while on paper Wheeler’s start doesn’t look all that impressive, going five and two thirds, and allowing three earned runs, anyone who watched the game could see that he was able to exhibit dominance on the mound. If Wheeler can give a performance like he did tonight on a consistent basis, the Mets will be perfectly suited to work his arm back into form, while still winning games until Steven Matz can rejoin the big league club.
Next: Harvey in line to make next start
Wheeler showed that he can still be the guy we all thought he was going to be after debuting in 2013. He has started the process of proving the Mets made the right decision by not dealing him in previous years, and making good on his claim to the New York Post, that he is still a starting pitcher in this league.