Friday, April 7, 2017


It's easy to be disappointed in the way Zack Wheeler's return to the Major Leagues kind of fizzled out in a stream of bloops and blasts. But, then again, after having to go through the Big Boy Surgery, and then having to go through multiple setbacks while trying to come back from the damn thing, and ending up missing two entire seasons, I don't think it quite fair to view one game in a vacuum. Sure. You want him to come back, throw 5 shutout innings, tip his cap and everything will be great but it doesn't always work that way. Wheeler hasn't always worked that way. This comeback is a process, and this has to be viewed as just a step in that process. Simply making it back to the Major Leagues and pitching in a game is the accomplishment. The 4 innings, 6 hits, 5 runs and 4 strikeouts are just a starting point.

Back before Wheeler got hurt, which seems like a lifetime ago considering it was the tail end of The Dark Ages Of The Mets, you saw a lot of the inconsistencies that Wheeler displayed this evening. His fastball was great, but he struggled at times with the location and consistency of his secondary pitches, he'd get too fine, and then batters would wait and sit on his fastball. And, well, this is pretty much the story of his comeback game. He was clearly amped up in the 1st inning and shot through the Marlins with ease, throwing mostly fastballs. But in the 2nd, he started working in breaking pitches and things weren't working quite as well, and he gave up a walk, and a bloop hit, and then Billy Marlins cranked a 2-run triple and things fell apart from there. In the 3rd, it was more of the same. A dunk hit preceded a long Home Run by Hamburgers Yelich, and Wheeler's night was officially a nightmare. Don't even get me started on it happening against the Marlins, who seem just as irritating as ever, especially if Keith Hernandez keeps fawning over their wonderful Outfielders. Ultimately, the game dissolved into one of those miserable April Night Games where it's freezing, the Mets are getting killed, and everybody just leaves after the 6th inning.

I know this because I've been to games like that. And don't think I wasn't tempted to go out there tonight to see Wheeler's return. But, perhaps wisdom and old age has begun to win out, as I knew early in the day that it was going to be cold and lousy out, and the last thing I wanted to do was to sit out at Citi Field and freeze my ass off, when it's Friday and I'm tired and cranky. In fact, that's what happened. I watched three innings of this game, got fed up, started having one of my Marlin-induced bouts of blind rage, then started to fall asleep, and ultimately shut the game off and took a nap. In the past, I feel like I would have rooked myself into going to more games in this Opening Week homestand, but perhaps I've finally wised up.

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