Tonight, New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler went out and tossed another fine game in a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs. It has been almost automatic recently whenever Wheeler takes the mound that he is going to put the Mets in position to win. That was the case once again tonight as he went 6.2 innings, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out 10 batters which tied a season high.
Since June 30, Wheeler has been flat out stellar, over that period of time he is 5-0 with a 1.93 ERA and has struck out 44 batters in nine starts. Those numbers speak for themselves it is clear this guy has found his groove here in the MLB. When he came up last year and for an early portion of this year it looked like Wheeler was still getting his feet wet and learning the league. This is what happens with young pitchers — it takes a little bit for them to learn the league, but it seems like Wheeler has certainly figured it out.
He is throwing all his pitches for strikes and that is because he has great confidence in them. Any of his pitches can get an opposing hitter out; his stuff is just electric and I really cannot say that about too many pitchers. The only thing that is still eluding him is pitching through the seventh inning; if there is one knock on Wheeler, it would be that he runs a high pitch count which limits how far he can go into a game.
That really doesn’t concern me at all, though — he will pitch deep into plenty of games over his career. Just like he figured out what needed to be done to be a successful pitcher on this level, he’ll figure out how to get his pitch count down so that he can go deeper into ball games. That should not be a concern whatsoever, he is getting better and better every time he takes the mound.
The Mets really have a good problem on their hands and that is all the depth they have in the starting pitching department. In 2015, they will have Matt Harvey back, Jacob deGrom, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee, Bartolo Colon, Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard to go along with Wheeler. Obviously, all of these guys won’t be here, but with that kind of depth, a move can be made to fix another part of the team.
There is no doubt in my mind that Wheeler will be here for an extended period of time. He can and will be a co-ace with Harvey assuming he comes back healthy after Tommy John surgery. Wheeler has the potential to be one of the best pitchers in the game and he has shown that over the past few months. I feel sorry for opposing teams who will have to see Harvey and Wheeler in back-to-back games next season because that will not be fun at all.
For years, we heard what Wheeler was all about and now we are seeing him blossom right before our very eyes. I commend Mets GM Sandy Alderson for dealing Carlos Beltran in 2011 to get this guy. Wheeler is the real deal and will only get better as he continues to pitch and learn the league even more. I’m glad I can watch him take the ball every fifth day for the Mets because he is truly turning into a must-see pitcher.
With the win tonight, Wheeler improved to 8-8 with a 3.49 ERA on the season; he really has come a long way from the 3-8 pitcher he was a couple of months ago. It is crazy how this game goes. A few months ago Wheeler looked lost, but now he is clearly on top of his game. A talent like Wheeler doesn’t come around often, so I hope Mets fans appreciate how good this guy really is.