Zack Wheeler started for the Mets today and had his best outing of the season to date.
In seven innings of work (93 pitches), the right-hander allowed no runs, three hits, and one walk while striking out five batters.
He was pulled in the bottom of the seventh inning by Mickey Callaway, as he sent Jose Bautista to the plate to pinch-hit for him, with Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Plawecki on first and second with two outs.
Nonetheless, Wheeler has been absolutely exceptional this month so far. In his two starts for the month of June, he has only allowed two runs, ten hits, and three walks while striking out nine in 13 innings of work.
As a result, his ERA has dipped to 4.57 on the year, which while still nothing special, is remarkably better than the 5.92 it was after his start on May 16 against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Wheeler, 28, believes that throwing inside, which is something Dave Eiland emphasized in Spring Training, is a major reason why he has been successful of late.
“I think I’m just making my pitches right now. I’m working the ball inside. I’m not leaving the ball out over the plate for them to do some damage so when guys do get on I really try to make that pitch to maybe get a groundball double play and I was able to do that. The defense made a few nice plays, Cabby, Amed, and Bruce, and that’s always nice.”
When asked about how he appeared to shift into another gear late in the game by retiring nine straight batters before exiting, he talked about his recognition of that being a trait of his over in his career so far.
“I always get better as the game goes on. That’s just how it has always worked for me. It’s probably because I get more tired and I don’t try to overthrow. Everything is a little more crisp and I just start to hit my spots a little more.
Despite the fact that the team has now lost six in a row, Wheeler still believes in his team to find a way to rebound, but admitted that they are going to have to start winning soon before it’s too late.
“I think we are a lot better team than how we are playing. I’ve said that before and I’ll keep saying that because we are a better team than we’ve been playing, and the record doesn’t show for it, but I think we will come around and that need to happen to come fast. I think we are at the point in the season where we need to start winning some games.”
“Like you said, everybody is pissed off. We aren’t down on ourselves cause we know we are better than how we’re playing.”