Coming into Friday night’s matchup against the San Francisco Giants, New York Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler had a 0.92 earned-run average over his previous six starts (39 innings), with a .201/.260/.259 slash line against.
In the second half of the season, Wheeler ranks among MLB’s leaders in ERA (1.17; second), FIP (2.31; sixth), and home runs per nine innings (0.20; fourth).
Friday night’s loss, Wheeler’s seventh of the year, was just as impressive as any of his other starts this season.
Even with an Evan Longoria two-out single added in, Wheeler got through the first inning having thrown just 16 pitches, including a 97 MPH slider to Brandon Belt that the first-baseman flew out to left field to end the inning.
Wheeler worked a perfect second, striking out his counterpart, Giants rookie Chris Shaw for his first punch out of the evening.
The 28-year-old Georgian worked around an Austin Slater double in the fourth, setting down Shaw on strikes again to end the frame.
After another perfect fifth inning (including another strikeout of Garcia, Wheeler’s sixth of the game), Wheeler notched two more impressive K’s in the sixth, getting Hanson swinging at a 92 MPH slider and Longoria flailing at a 91 MPH splitter.
Wheeler allowed a leadoff double to Brandon Belt in the seventh, but recovered nicely to retire Slater, Shaw, and struck out Gorkys Hernandez on a foul-tipped 94 MPH slider to end his evening.
Zack Wheeler’s final line was seven innings pitched, allowing one earned run on four hits with nine strikeouts and no walks.
The 28-year-old righty threw 97 pitches, 65 of them for strikes, and lowered his earned-run average on the season from 3.46 down to 3.37.