Zack Wheeler didn’t take the loss for the New York Mets Tuesday night although he certainly deserved so. This was one of the few times a Mets’ starter came away with a no-decision and it turned out to be a positive for him.
Wheeler was his own worst enemy in five rocky innings as he walked six, including to the leadoff hitter in the fifth that eventually came around to score in large part because he failed to cover first base.
It is not how Wheeler desired to finish his first season, and certainly not what the smattering of fans at Citi Field wanted to see in an 8-5 loss to the San Francisco Giants.
Because Wheeler is on an innings limit, he might get one more start, next Monday in Cincinnati. It is up in the air whether Wheeler will pitch in the final weekend series against Milwaukee at Citi Field.
Command was a problem for Wheeler in the minor leagues and at times this season on the major league level. This time, he had trouble locating his fastball, and with that it was all an uphill battle.
If there is something to take from Wheeler’s development it has been his ability to minimize damage and put away hitters when in trouble. That’s hard to do when you walk five in one inning, as Wheeler did in the second.
He gave up three runs that inning, but it could have been worse. Even so, Wheeler was in position to get a victory when he took the mound in the fifth. He left the inning with 107 pitches, and pitch counts have been an issue.
Control did him in, but he’ll always remember to hustle to first base.
If the Mets want to stick to Wheeler’s innings limit, that’s fine, but how about skipping him in Cincinnati and let him get a final start at Citi Field? Maybe he’ll redeem himself, and it will be one more chance for the fans to see him.
Wheeler represents the Mets’ future along with Matt Harvey, and perhaps he’ll make the same progressive jump the latter did this season.
With the competitive part of the season long since over for the Mets, their main concern is keeping Wheeler and some players who are injured from doing further damage. In that regard, the Mets are in no hurry to push David Wright.
Prior to the game, Terry Collins said Wright would not be activated for the Giants series because of overall soreness sustained in his rehab from a Grade 2 right hamstring strain.
Wright wants to play, but the prudent thing is to go with caution. Do the Mets really want their last image of Wright this season hobbling off the field after re-injuring his hamstring?
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