It appears the Mets will have to wait a little longer before their “vaunted’’ rotation completes a one-through-five cycle. That’s because, based on performance Zack Wheeler should open the season in Las Vegas.
The Nationals torched Wheeler for five runs in two innings – throwing 58 pitches – on Thursday, this coming after Washington bullied him for five runs in three innings in his previous start. Ten runs in five innings isn’t just a bad two starts, it’s pretty much what he’s done all spring.
Wheeler hasn’t lasted longer than three innings in any of his five starts this spring. Last I checked, an 8.10 ERA this spring training is awful, and not worthy of a spot on the Opening Day roster. And, if not for Jason Vargas’ injury he wouldn’t be.
“I am highly disappointed,’’ Wheeler told reporters. “I have got to keep my head up, though. I am feeling healthy, feeling good, but maybe just off a little mechanically, and hopefully I can get that figured out quick.’’
Manager Mickey Callaway believes Wheeler is putting too much pressure on himself by being too fine. Consequently, Wheeler is forced to come in with the fastball when he falls behind in the count.
That’s trouble for any pitcher at any level, whether he’s healthy or not.
“I still think we have a decision to make and we’re not quite ready to make it yet,’’ Callaway said. “We have to continue to evaluate all the pieces we have.’’
If Vargas is ready, he’ll go. If not, it could be Seth Lugo. It just shouldn’t be Wheeler right now.