Zack Wheeler pitched what may have been his best start of the season in Thursday night’s 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
The young righty brought his A-game to Citizens Bank Park, using every pitch in his arsenal to stifle the Phillies offense and pick up only his second win of the season while improving his ERA to 4.31 for the season. The win was part of a recent resurgence by the New York Mets that has not gone unnoticed by MLB Futures.
In dominating fashion, Wheeler struck out nine in 6.1 innings. But what popped out more than the strikeouts was that he didn’t issue a walk on the night, perhaps a sign that things are finally coming together for him. Especially when you consider he only walked one batter in his previous start against the Diamondbacks.
“I knew I had it today,” said Wheeler, whose first five outs came via strikeout. “I could locate all of my pitches. It’s easy when you can locate all of your pitches and everything is working.”
Wheeler also pitched with a confidence and swagger that we haven’t yet seen from him this season, again a sign that he’s becoming more comfortable on this stage and with his own ability.
“He really was throwing well tonight,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “You’re going to see nights like this out of him, he certainly has that ability, we’ve seen it in the past, he came with a reputation of dominating a game and tonight he dominated this game.”
We could be seeing a turning point here and a progression to that next level you so often here about when you’re discussing a young player’s overall development.
Wheeler, who is usually his own harshest critic, had a look of accomplishment afterward, but more importantly a look of belonging, as he sat by his locker with reporters.
“I can actually smile after a start now,” said Wheeler after his electrifying performance.