What an incredible start to the Mets season as they head to Philadelphia with a 14-11 record, good enough for second place in the very tough National League East.
The hits have been scant, the runs have been scarce, but this team keeps chugging along. “If you have the pitching, anything can happen,” David Wright said after Sunday’s win over the Marlins. “You don’t necessarily need a juggernaut offense to win games.”
For the first time since they left Big Shea for ultra-modern Citi Field, the Mets are playing the kind of baseball their new park was built for – Pitching, Speed and Defense. What an incredibly novel approach, right?
But lost in all the hubbub was what might have been an incredible breakthrough performance by our young righthander, Zack Wheeler.
Hidden behind Wheeler’s no-decision on Friday was a dominant six-inning effort, and by far his best outing of the season.
Wheeler held the Marlins to one run, while allowing just four singles and three walks, and striking out 10. It was only the second double-digit strikeout performance of his career and his first one this season.
More important than the number of strikeouts was when Wheeler got them ,which was when he needed them the most.
“You know you’ve got to make big pitches at certain points in the game. That’s what I did,” said Wheeler after the game.
I loved the way he battled the Marlins throughout the game, and for me the highlight of his performance was when he got in trouble in the sixth and final inning. After singles by Casey McGehee and Garrett Jones put runners on first and third with one out, Wheeler dug deep within himself and fanned the next two batters Derek Dietrich and Adeiny Hechavarria to escape the jam. “That’s a big part of my game, bearing down when I have to,”
The moment wasn’t lost on manager Terry Collins.
“That was a big inning for him,” Collins said. “There are times when you grow in the game when you’re faced with some situations where you have to reach down inside and get out of it.”
Great outing, great game, great series, great homestand. Let’s go take it to the Phillies.