Zack Wheeler came into today’s matinee looking to pitch as well as he did in his previous outing last week against the Cincinnati Reds. In that game, he went six innings and allowed only one run, four hits, and three walks to go along with seven strikeouts.
Today’s matchup, in the rain, went a lot different for the 27-year old.
Wheeler struck out the first two batters of the game before surrendering a home run to Justin Smoak to give himself a 1-0 deficit after the first inning.
The right-hander came into the day with a 12.00 ERA in the first inning and he got bit early again.
He managed to calm down over the next two innings as he struck out four of the next six batters he faced and looked to be getting into a groove.
He followed up the fourth inning with an even worse fifth as he gave up another leadoff walk, this time to the pitcher, J.A. Happ. Wheeler then allowed a double to Curtis Granderson that just barely stayed in the park. Josh Donaldson then hit a single followed by a Justin Smoak double that allowed all three prior hitters to score.
Mickey Callaway would pull Zack Wheeler after he allowed a walk to the next batter, Teoscar Hernandez.
The right-hander finished with a line that included six runs, seven hits, and three walks over four innings (81 pitches) to go along with seven strikeouts.
This performance raised Wheeler’s season ERA to 5.92 and allowed his season record to fall 2-3.
For his career, the 27-year old has had trouble making Citi Field feel like home. Coming into the game, Wheeler had a career home ERA of 5.12 as compared to a lowly 3.13 ERA on the road.
While that could be due to a number of reasons, it certainly is an interesting trend that is a rarity for most, pitchers perform better in front of their home crowd.