Snap Judgement- Zach Wheeler Is No Matt Harvey- Bruce’s Thought Of The Day
Let me say 1st and upfront. I reserve the right to change my mind. 1000 times if I like. Let me also state this is not fair so soon in both Met pitchers careers. However I have seen Matt Harvey and Zach Wheeler pitch and Wheeler is no Harvey.
4 starts into his pro career and so far if you are an honest Met fan you have to agree that Wheeler looks well pedestrian. Nothing special really. Course Harvey reeks of special. But in sports,especially pitching, this can change in a blink.
Wheeler made his 4th start for the Met's Friday night, and frankly was underwhelming. Yes he worked his way out of trouble a few times, but it was trouble of his own making. Wheeler throws too many pitches and his lack of command with the fastball is worrisome.
However as I balance the 4 game disappointment, I remind myself that even the great Justin Verlander of the Tigers was a thrower, not a pitcher, early in his career. I can trace to the game when Verlander became a pitcher. His no hitter in Toronto. It wasn't just rare back and fire, mixing in an occasional off speed pitch. It was a man thinking his game through and setting up hitters for punch outs. Hopefully the light will go on for Wheeler. Friday the light was off.
The Brewers are terrible. They are free swingers. Sluggers. Wheeler fell behind the majority of hitters. Young pitchers usually respond by trying to throw fastballs by hitters. Wheeler has done this himself. It doesn't work. Hitters can guess, for almost certainty, the fastball is coming when behind in the count. 98 goes out at 158 when it is dead red down the gut!
Several times the Mets threatened to blow the game open, and several times Wheeler threatened to give it back. he did extricate himself from a few jams with some good sliders. His work to get out of the 5th inning was his best work of the night.
Mets led 7-3 before 2 singles and a walk, his 3rd of the night, loaded the bases for Jonathan Lucroy, the Brewers top RBI threat. Wheeler induced him to pop to short center. No runners advanced. Then Wheeler used the gas and the slider to strike out Juan Francisco to end the threat, and his night.
Wheeler threw 99 pitches on a night the Mets needed him to eat innings. He couldn't. The Mets just finished a marathon game and series against Arizona. Wheeler could only give them 5 innings. Not good! 47 of those pitches were for balls. If they were close pitches or he was getting squeezed by the home plate ump John Hirschbeck that would be 1 thing, but neither was the case. Wheeler struggled to control the fastball, in a climate controlled building no less.
The Mets won easily 12-5, thanks to Milwaukee being a terrible team. 3 errors and countless gaffe's made a mockery of Milwaukee's play. Also nice nights by the Ike Davis who had 3 hits in his return from the minors, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis who knocked in 5 runs.
But for me the story is Wheeler. Much hyped, he has not dominated yet. Forget dominate, he hasn't been in control yet. Let's hope it is coming Met fans or this teams ascension to contender will be pushed back-AGAIN!