On the day the team and its loyal fanbase learned the devastating news that Matt Harvey will likely need Tommy John surgery to repair a partially torn UCL in his elbow, Zack Wheeler took the mound and delivered the goods. Despite the 2-1 loss to the Phillies, the young righthander gave us the reassuring start we all needed to help us move on.
In 6.2 innings, the 23-year old allowed just two earned runs on five hits, walking one and striking out seven. More important that his pitching line was his confidence that continues to grow each time he takes the mound. When asked if he felt any added pressure going into the game, the Mets’ top prospect said he wasn’t fazed.
“No, not necessarily. I’m going to go out there and pitch the same way I’ve been pitching,” Wheeler said. “Like I said it’s unfortunate that it happened and I’m going to go out there and do the best I can, control what I can control.”
It’s funny that I urged those similar sentiments in an earlier post today, control what you can control.
Wheeler has been on a great run of late, and in particular his last ten starts:
You throw out that one start on August 4th, and he’s walked three or less in nine of his last ten starts. Reducing his walks was supposed to be his work in progress, and it’s apparent that he’s made great strides in that area.
“It’s horrible,” Wheeler said of his teammate Matt Harvey. “No pitcher ever wants to go through that, no other pitcher wants to hear about that, especially to a good guy like Matt.”
For now, Wheeler replaces Harvey as the symbol of the new Mets renaissance. His presence on the team shows the importance of never having too much pitching. Behind him, the Mets still have Jon Niese and Dillon Gee already here, but it’s what lies in wait on the farm that has some of us very excited.
Names that we’ve been bandying about all year are now front and center and they include Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom who are near MLB-ready, as well as Noah Syndergaard and Robert Gsellman who are a little more far off, but not that far.
Getting back to Wheeler, his innings limit is fast approaching so enjoy the last of him this season while you can. As for next season, I’m excited to see what he can do with this much needed major league experience now under his belt along with the marked improvement.