Zack Wheeler had a test of fortitude staring him in the face today when he took the mound against the Reno Aces. The good news for Mets fans is that the young Wheeler stared adversity in the face and punched it in the mouth.
He ran into some trouble right out of the gate, as lead-off hitter Tyler Bortnick singled and stole second base. Wheeler then induced two ground balls, one which moved the runner over and the latter one bringing him home. He allowed a single after that, but settled down to strike out Brad Snyder to end the inning.
Wheeler danced out of a self-created jam in the second inning where he allowed two singles by getting Bortnick to fly out. Of course, that’s when the fun started. Including Bortnick’s fly out, Wheeler went on to retire the next eleven batters straight, mixing in a healthy amount of strikeouts along the way and demonstrating overall dominance. The next baserunner that reached against him was due to a fielding error, but that was barely a blip on the radar for him as he went ahead to pick up a flyout and then a strikeout to end the sixth inning.
He took the mound and immediately allowed a lead-off single, and after getting two outs, he walked Evan Frey – that’s when Wally Backman pulled him from the ballgame. I wish he would have left him in. The walk to Frey, by the way, was his first of the day – what an excellent sign. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that Wheeler had some solid defense behind him throughout the entire game, which undoubtedly helped his cause.
Zack Wheeler’s final line was an impressive one:
6.2 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 1 ER, 8 K. 65/108 pitches went for strikes.
For what it’s worth, Wheeler actually had a solid day at the plate, going 1-for-2 with an RBI single, a walk, and a run scored. He is the proud owner of a .333 batting average. Let’s hope this is the beginning of a trend for Wheeler as he settles down to become a huge part of our future plans.