Well, I’ll do my best to put a positive spin on this one, but a loss is a loss no matter what. Zack Wheeler got back on track against the Washington Nationals tonight with seven sharp innings — which is especially impressive considering how well the Nationals have been hitting the ball coming into the series. He gave up eight hits over that span but walked only one — and in fact, allowed his only run via a home run to Ryan Zimmerman. He struck out six batters and rebounded after losing a streak of quality starts his last time out. Wheeler struggles a little more under the New York lights as well, with some noticeable home/road splits, so this is really a nice game for Wheeler all-around.
That’s…really about it for the positive side of things, however, as Vic Black was nailed for three hits in the eighth that resulted in two more runs. A two-out double by Anthony Rendon did the real damage, driving home both runners. LaTroy Hawkins, for his part, looked exceptionally sharp in the ninth inning, striking out two batters in a perfect frame. It does amaze me that he seems to hit 95 MPH with ease lately.
The Mets were shutout for the second time this series, this time via Dan Haren and a quarter of Washington relievers. They managed only three hits, with two of them coming off the bat of Juan Lagares. He bunted to get on base in the ninth and advanced to second on defensive indifference, but the Mets couldn’t get anything started.
Well, at least Wheeler looked good. He threw 70 of his 101 pitches for strikes in this strong performance. The Mets look to avoid a four-game sweep when they send Aaron Harang to the mound in his Mets debut tomorrow.