Upper Minors Thursday: Zack Wheeler Did Not Have His Feel

AA: Binghamton Mets 8, Reading Phillies 5

 Zack Wheeler: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K. He threw 66% of his pitches (67 of 102) for strikes and induced nine ground balls.

As bad starts go this was a pretty good one. Nonetheless, the three runs he allowed were the most in any of his 11 double-A starts as were the seven hits. The three strikeouts tied a season-low.

Wheeler told Lynn Worthy in the Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin:

“I was struggling a little bit early, and I really didn’t have a feel for all my pitches. I was just trying to get it over and get strikes when you’re having a day like that. I settled down a little bit later in the game.”

Manager Pedro Lopez thought it was a worthwhile learning experience:

Today, he just didn’t have his best stuff. It was a tough day for him. I’m kind of glad that he was able to pitch the way he did. In order for him to develop as a great pitcher, he needs to go through days like this.

In the sixth inning, with the B-Mets down a run, CF Juan Lagares tripled and scored on a Reese Havens groundball into center. In the seventh inning, Lagares drew a bases-loaded walk to put Binghamton in front. Lagares (.270/.328/.360) was 1-for-2 with three walks, a new career-high from the leadoff spot. He’s become much, much more patient in 2012 even though his batting average is down from 2011.