Zack Wheeler‘s second start of the year was much better than his first. Despite having three earned runs in his final line, he pitched better than that line suggests. In 5.2 innings, Wheeler allowed three runs on four hits and one walk while striking out four. He threw 85 pitches.
After retiring 11 straight Phillies, Wheeler allowed three baserunners in the 6th inning before being lifted for Hansel Robles with one out. Robles, who pitched for the third day in a row, placed a first-pitch fastball on a tee for Maikel Franco who crushed a grand slam to center field, reducing the Mets’ lead to 5-4 and allowing the three runners Wheeler was responsible for to score.
Aside from those three baserunners in the 6th inning, Wheeler pitched phenomenally. His fastball was sitting 94-96 mph while occasionally dialing it up to 97. He was throwing big breaking sliders in the high 80s as well as slower curveballs with bigger vertical break. He seemed to mix in some changeups but it was obviously his least used pitch last night.
“It was a big start for me,” Wheeler said after the game. “It’s nice to be out there doing well again.”
Wheeler did a good job keeping the ball down, registering eight outs via ground balls. If he continues to pitch well, the Mets will have an interesting situation on their hands when they are confronted with the issue of his season innings count. They need to find a way to avoid a Stephen Strasburg situation so he’s able to pitch late in the season and the playoffs.