Zack Wheeler made his first start in what seemed like ages Friday night, toeing the rubber for the New York Mets for the first time since September 25, 2014. The immediate results were sub-par, although the 26-year-old was able to take some positives away.
“I wanted to come out here and dominate today,” Wheeler told reporters after allowing five runs in four innings in his season debut. “Sort of put my foot down that I’m back and I belong here. But something as small as controlling your off-speed pitches, that’s easy to fix. So I’m not down. It stinks that I lost and I didn’t give the guys a chance to win, but it’s a long season and I will improve.”
Wheeler came out roaring in the first inning, striking out two Marlins batters and reaching 97 mph on his fastball. However, it didn’t come that easy the rest of the way. Derek Dietrich got Wheeler for a two-RBI triple in the second inning, and Christian Yelich sent a ball over the right field fence in the third.
He rebounded in the fourth as he pitched a scoreless inning. However, the one hit he gave up in the fourth was opposing pitcher Wei-Yin Chen‘s first career hit.
Wheeler needed 80 pitches to get through the four innings with 54 of them for strikes and averaged 94 MPH on his fastball.
He will make his next start on April 12 against the Philadelphia Phillies.