There is something about Zack Wheeler that leaves you – and the New York Mets – wanting more.
Tonight he threw his 21st quality start of the season; defined as at least six innings with three or fewer runs.
Wheeler struck out seven in six scoreless inning, and Carlos Torres, Jeurys Familia and Buddy Carlyle combined to retire the final 13 Atlanta hitters in the 5-0 victory.
Even so, in this age of counting pitches, Wheeler threw 105 pitches in those six innings. Sure, as a strikeout pitcher he’ll run up the pitch count, but in exchange for at least one more inning I’d give up a few strikeouts.
Is Wheeler a great pitcher? At l1-10 with a 3.51 ERA it is too soon to tell, but he is 8-2 over his last 15 starts.
For Wheeler and the Mets – who were officially eliminated from playoff contention Friday – to reach the next level, it is imperative for him to go further with his pitch count.
Only twice in 31 starts did Wheeler complete at least seven innings, and 11 other times he worked into the seventh.
Am I being too picky? Probably so, but the Mets have been boasting about Wheeler, and to completely buy into what they are saying, he needs to at least go seven.
Nobody is asking for complete games, but seven isn’t much to ask for a player being touted as an ace.