Zack Wheeler3After being shut out for the second time in three days to the Washington Nationals (and only registering 13 hits in the three games against them thus far), the Mets are limping—all bandaged and wounded—to the finish line. The spirit has been sapped out of this club, and a team could only take so much bad news before they completely break down. Ever since the news of Matt Harvey’s injury, and the subsequent trading of John Buck and Marlon Byrd to the Pirates, this Mets’ ball club has seen the wind being taken out of its sail.

After Wednesday night’s loss, the Mets—for the first time this year—are 16 games below .500. Terry Collins, love him or hate him, is basically managing nothing more than a glorified Triple-A squad these days. For those who want to finish in the bottom-ten of the standings, you should get your wish.

Looking for bright spots this month? Well look no further than last night’s starter, Zack Wheeler.

Wheeler is doing his best to cement the hype bestowed upon him as a potential ace. He had another fine performance on Wednesday night, limiting the Nationals to one run (on a Ryan Zimmerman home run, his first given up in 37 innings pitched no less) on eight hits and one walk (to go with six strikeouts) in seven innings, while also taking the tough-luck loss. Wheeler now has six quality starts in his last seven outings. The only non-quality outing in that stretch was when he only pitched five innings (while issuing five walks) and gave up three runs (two earned) against the Indians last weekend.

For the season, Wheeler is now 7-4 with a more-than-healthy 3.38 ERA. A 1.34 WHIP is not ideal, but it could be a lot worse. For a rookie making his debut in this meat market known as New York City, that’s something you can hang your hat on.

And on top of all that, Wheeler had to pitch in the enormous shadow of  Harvey, who took the city and nation by storm with the incredible year he enjoyed. Not to mention, Wheeler had plenty of doubters—and still does-that he is/was a bust. If the numbers he is putting up are numbers worthy of being labeled as a bust, I’ll take it.

Yeah, Wheeler is not without his faults (in regards to some control issues), but with time and experience, he will only get better.

While Wheeler may be at the end of the line in regards to this season, he’s been a joy to watch. With all the bad news the Mets have received in the last month or so, the season-ending (and perhaps more) injury to Harvey being at the forefront, Wheeler excelling in the last few weeks is something the Mets and their fans can get excited about.

Wheeler has to use this momentum the same way Harvey did last year and into this year. The Mets have a lot riding on Wheeler’s strong, exciting right arm and it would be nice if Wheeler can pick up the ball next April and continue where he left off.

Wheeler is giving a downtrodden Mets’ fanbase a glimmer of hope as we look toward the end of the season. It’s at least something to be excited about.

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11 comments on “Zack Wheeler a bright spot for Mets in an otherwise dreary final month

  • Brian Joura

    Wheeler’s last seven starts:

    44.1 IP, 2.44 ERA, 12 BB, 40 Ks, 2 HR

    I’d love to see 30+ starts with those numbers from him in 2014

  • Metsense

    And there is still room for improvement! Now let’s get some offense so that these young pitchers don’t have to pitch with so little room for error. It isn’t just the amount of innings pitched but also the type of innings pitched.

  • David Groveman

    If the Mets manage to get Harvey back without any degradation and have Syndergaard, Wheeler and Harvey in their rotation they will be a very scary team to have a series against.

    • Chris F

      Until the 7th inning!

      • NormE

        If the can score any runs!

        • David Groveman

          Introducing Debbie and Downer

          • Chris F

            Of course we all agree…its just time for the humor part of September…it staves off the crying!

  • Name

    Mets are just finishing up a stretch where 17 of the 20 games were teams over .500. It’s no wonder they are just 6-13 (1 game left vs the Nats) during that stretch.
    Fortunately, or unfortunately if you are counting on the protected draft pick, of the last 17 games, only 3 of the games are teams over .500(the Reds). It looks like 88-89 loses will be on the cusp of the 10th spot, so with the Mets currently are 64-80, if the Mets play above .500 ball for the final 18 games, they will finish out the top 10. I wouldn’t count them as a lock to be bottom 10 yet.

    • Chris F

      Ever the optimist! Remember we are 5W and 10L against the Marlins. Season record matters little. Marlins, Reds, Phillies cause plenty of mayhem. I see 6-7 more Wins this year.

  • Sean Flattery

    The way he pitches with runners on base has been his most encouraging attribute. Most rookie pitchers are not as poised in those situations. He’s only gonna get better.

    • za

      He’s improved dramatically in the second half – his 1st half ERA was around 3.5 but his FIP and xFIP were above 5. His 2nd half ERA is right around 3.0 and his FIP and xFIP have dropped to around 3.6. He’s walking fewer guys and striking out more guys while going deeper in games. Frankly, I’m very happy with his performance and growth so far. We’re going to need him, especially with this cloud of uncertainty over Harvery.

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