The ancient Greeks may have had their idea of tragedy, but they never had to stay up until 2 to watch the Mets. How does a team hit four home runs and score six runs against the sport’s best pitcher, but lose the game?
Actually, it’s very simple when your starting pitcher gives up seven runs and lasts only two innings. That’s Zack Wheeler, who lasted 1.2 innings and gave up eight runs in his previous start. That’s 15 runs in 3.2 innings.
Concerned is an understatement.
“When you’ve got that kind of stuff and you’re getting hit like [Wheeler] is getting hit, there is something wrong and we’ve got to get to the bottom of it,’’ manager Terry Collins said. “He’s too good. He’s got too good of stuff.’’
But “stuff’’ is too broad a term. Stuff is more than throwing hard. It includes movement, location and command of his secondary pitches.
“Honestly, I haven’t had off-speed pitches all year, and now it’s starting to catch up to me,’’ Wheeler said. “Those guys get scouting reports and now it’s starting to catch up to me. It’s easy [for hitters] when you can’t throw off-speed for strikes and you’re just throwing fastballs.’’
And, fastballs with little movement that hang out over the plate get crushed. But, it might not be just one issue. Wheeler’s problems can be attributed to a myriad of circumstances:
Mets’ pitchers are notorious for withholding physical ailments and trying to pitch through discomfort, so it wouldn’t surprise me if something crops up with Wheeler.
HITTING A WALL: Wheeler missed the last two seasons following Tommy John surgery and a complicated healing process. It’s quite possible he’s hit a wall.
The solution for that could be to shut him down for his next start and give him time to rest.
TIPPING PITCHES: Collins said they’ll look at video in an attempt to spot any mechanical issues. While they are at it, examine the tape carefully to spot any giveaways to what’s coming.
The Dodgers’ first five hitters swung the bat like they knew the pitch.
Something isn’t right with Wheeler and the Mets’ would be wise for him to skip a start as they search for answers.