Can Zack Wheeler tame the Rockies?

Zack Wheeler3In his rookie season, Zack Wheeler turned heads with how he pitched against the Braves. While Atlanta has had its way with New York most of the last 20 or so years, Wheeler went out and put up a 3-0 mark against them in 2013. Now, Wheeler will get the chance to slay another Mets demon – the Colorado Rockies.

The Rockies don’t have nearly as long a history of tormenting the Mets as the Braves do, yet since Terry Collins took over, the club is just 8-14 versus against Colorado. The pitching has been brutal in these matchups, as the Mets have a 5.01 ERA in 22 games and have allowed 29 HR in 195.1 IP. Overall, the Rockies have a .272/.334/.446 line against the Mets.

One of the biggest problems New York faces is that Colorado owns Jon Niese. In six games against the Mets’ lefty, Colorado has amassed a .306/.360/.517 line. Niese has hurled 36.2 IP against the Rockies and is just 1-3 with a 5.65 ERA.

Bartolo Colon did not have much better luck than Niese Thursday night. While it was his first lifetime loss against Colorado, Colon has a 7.71 ERA and a 1.959 WHIP after allowing 11 baserunners and seven runs in 4.2 IP in his first start for the Mets against the Rockies.

Hopefully Wheeler can limit the damage. In his last outing, Wheeler had his best start of the year for the Mets, as he struck out 10 and allowed just 1 ER in 6 IP against the Marlins. One thing Wheeler has done well this year is to limit the gopher ball. He’s allowed just 2 HR in 29.1 IP and has not allowed a homer since surrendering a leadoff blast to Jason Heyward in his second game of the season, a span of 23.1 innings.

The Rockies lead the majors with 39 HR, 23 of which they hit in the launching pad of Coors Field, including Carlos Gonzalez’ blast off Colon Thursday night. Wheeler will have his work cut out for him Friday, with Colorado having a .346/.395/.583 team line in home games.

New York has succeeded early in the season thanks to some strong starting pitching efforts. This four-game series with the red-hot Rockies will hurt the starters’ overall numbers. But if the Mets hope to avoid their recent struggles against Colorado, they’ll have to do it with pitching. Here’s hoping Wheeler is up to the task Friday night.

7 comments for “Can Zack Wheeler tame the Rockies?

  1. Chris F
    May 2, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    I fear the answer is no. Once he needs to force the ball over the dish to get strikes, those balls might just go flying pretty hard.

  2. George
    May 2, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    This just might be the coming out party for Wheeler. Many hoped he might be this year’s Harvey. A good eight innings and a win after that last start and he just might be on his way to doing that.

  3. steevy
    May 3, 2014 at 9:45 am

    In hindsight.No.

  4. Chris F
    May 3, 2014 at 10:33 am

    I think the upside projection on Wheeler is too high, perhaps way too high. I see him as more a 4th 5th or 6th starter. He’s simply too wild and Shang little evidence of fixing his control issues.

    • May 3, 2014 at 12:34 pm

      I think you need to show more patience with Wheeler. He’s got a 3.15 FIP right now, so I’m not too worried about his current ERA. As for his control, he has a 3.5 BB/9, down from last year’s 4.1 mark. Would it be nice if it was better — sure. But there are plenty of pitchers who succeed with that walk rate.

      • Chris F
        May 3, 2014 at 12:45 pm

        Not just the walk rate…he has a huge number of pitches per inning, which means he’s going to shred the pen regularly.

  5. Chris F
    May 3, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Shang = granny ….oops, no. = showing (gd autocorrect!)

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