Here’s some free advice to the New York Mets: don’t trade away Zack Wheeler, because you just might have to face him.
Wheeler made the best start of his brief MLB career on Wednesday against the San Francisco Giants, the organization that traded him to the Mets nearly two years ago in exchange for Carlos Beltran. Whether facing the team that drafted him provided any extra motivation for Wheeler, only he knows, but there’s no debate that Wheeler was brilliant.
The right-hander allowed one run in seven innings of work, giving up three hits and three walks while striking out five, dominating the Giants all afternoon. After relying mostly on his fastball throughout his first four starts, Wheeler’s breaking ball was the best it has been since his MLB debut, as was his fastball command, which has been his biggest issue throughout his career.
He was far more economical with his pitches than he’s been since coming the big leagues, which allowed him to pitch deep into the game, helping out an exhausted Mets’ bullpen. Wheeler even excelled in the batter’s box, as he put down a successful sacrifice bunt and hit an RBI double, completing his dominance of the Giants in all aspects of the game.
Wheeler’s teammates made it easy for him — or rather, San Francisco starter Matt Cain made it easy for him. Cain was awful and hurt himself with walks as he failed to get out of the first inning, yielding three runs, which was all the Mets needed to secure the win.
With the win, the Mets completed a sweep of the Giants, giving the Mets 16 wins in their last 25 games and pulling them within eight games of the .500 mark. The Mets have not been that close to .500 since May 31 and with the way they’ve been playing lately, they have a chance to get even closer, especially if they can continue to get outings like this from Wheeler.