The legend of Zack Wheeler continues to grow as last night he joined some pretty impressive company…
GREAT COMPANY: Zack Wheeler joins Pedro Martinez & Nolan Ryan as the only Mets pitchers ever to strikeout 12 batters in six innings or less.
— Mets Merized Online (@MetsMerized) August 16, 2013
Wheeler set career highs Thursday with 12 strikeouts and 115 pitches, taking a no-decision after allowing one run in six innings. The Mets went on to beat the Padres 4-1.
Over his past two starts, the rookie is 1-0 with a 1.46 ERA, 16 strikeouts and one walk.
“Early, I was keeping my pitch count pretty low,” Wheeler said of Thursday’s outing. “But after the second or third inning, I got a little carried away and I was trying to strike some people out and I lost a little command of my fastball. It didn’t help. My pitch count went up, and I had to work a lot more.”
Much of Wheeler’s recent improvement has coincided with better command. Before walking no one last weekend in Arizona, Wheeler issued at least three free passes in six of his nine starts. Twice, he walked five batters in a game.
However, he has now walked just one batter over his last two outings, spanning 12 1/3 innings. Perhaps not surprisingly, he has given up a combined two runs in those games.
“I feel like I’m getting better every time out,” Wheeler said. “It’s a learning experience. That’s the biggest thing. Every time out you learn something new.
“I didn’t think I had my best stuff today. I thought I was getting underneath the ball a little bit. That’s when my slider was pretty big instead of straight down. It was effective, yeah, but not how I like it. I want it shorter and sharper. It’s a learning process.”