Friday, July 26, 2013

Hitting Shoes

For all the ways in which Zack Wheeler has been compared to Matt Harvey, I really think the two could not possibly be more different.

For one, the Mets seem to score runs in bunches on days he pitches, for the most part.

Whereas Harvey arrived at the Major League level one year ago today with all the polish and poise of a seasoned veteran, Wheeler has often looked like what he is: A Rookie making, in yesterday afternoon's game, his 7th Major League start. He hasn't been bad, he's had some bad outings, but at no point have I come away from any of his starts thinking that he's a flop. He's just trying to figure it out. Fortunately, in the games he's pitched, the Mets have been able to outhit him getting it together. It's happened against Milwaukee, Atlanta and again, Thursday was a prime example.

Wheeler's general problem to this point has mostly been command. He throws hard, yes, and he seems to have a very easy time of it. So easy, in fact, that it appears his fastball becomes too light and moves around so much that it gives you the impression that he's wild. Sometimes, he is, based on the number of walks (to this point 20 in 38.2 IP) he's allowed. Against Philadelphia last weekend, this particular problem bit him in the ass to the point where he couldn't get out of the 5th inning, in spite of a lead, costing himself a win. Yesterday, it nearly got him again. Spotted a 4-1 lead, Wheeler allowed guys on base, eventually got burned for a pair of Home Runs and that 4-1 lead all of a sudden became 4-4. But, the point with Wheeler might not be to simply look at the results, it's how he responds to adversity. He's handled tough situations rather well for the most part; one of the upsides of the fact that he's allowed so many baserunners is that it's helped him toughen up and get himself out of jams. He got himself out of some hairy situations multiple times yesterday, and managed to work his way through 6 innings.

And, as has become the case multiple times, the Mets managed to get him some runs as he was departing the game in order to give him a win for his efforts. The Mets scored in bunches in this one, and these were primarily generated by Marlon Byrd, Daniel Murphy and David Wright, who I believe combined for 8 of the Mets 14 hits, and John Buck, who drove in 3 runs in assorted spots and has started to hit a little bit again. In fact, everyone, in some way, has been hitting a little bit recently, which has helped the Mets go on this nice little run that's got everybody feeling optimistic in Metsville these days. The split against Atlanty is nice, sure, it could have been better; if Justin Turner's shot falls in on Monday night, perhaps this is a 3-1 series win and a 5-2 homestand, but for as badly as the Mets have played at home, 4-3 is pretty good.

Washington today, where the hallowed tradition of the Day-Night Doubleheader will take place.

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