Zack Wheeler fired the first complete game shutout of his career: 9 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 HBP. He threw 71% of his pitches (75 of 106) for strikes. Wheeler suffered through a rough stretch at the end of June, but has been completely untouchable over his two starts in July, separated of course by a Futures Game appearance: 0.55 ERa, 16.1 IP 12 H, 1 R, 1 HB, 1 BB, 13 K.
Wheeler struggled with his control early, throwing seven of his first 12 pitches for balls before figuring it out, as he explained to MiLB.com:
“I had a rough first inning, so I sat down and thought about what I was doing wrong. I made a physical adjustment and it helped me get through the game.
“When I was bringing my leg up, my front shoulder was flying open, so I was leaving pitches up. It’s been a problem, but I’ve been able to fix it.”
Wheeler is now 9-4 with a 2.39 ERA in 16 starts with 95 strikeouts against 36 walks and 72 for an opponents’ batting average of just .206. He is second in the Eastern League in ERA, third in strikeouts, and first in WHIP (1.06).
Terry Collins suggested to reporters on Saturday, that the Mets would think about calling up Wheeler to help the big league club this year, “I’m going to tell you something: Right now, in our organization, if you’ve got talent, and you show that you can get people out, your name is going to be on that list.” Isn’t the same true for any organization in baseball?
Look, Wheeler is extremely physically gifted. He can run his fastball up to 97 mph. He has a nasty slider. But the reality is that AAA is harder than AA and the big leagues are much, much harder than both. Before giving him a big league look, lets see him succeed against AAA hitters.
2B Reese Havens’ (.219/.350/.349 – 64 games) solo homerun in the sixth inning provided the game’s only run.
The Bisons won their seventh straight, are within two in the International League wild card hunt, if you’re into that kind of thing.
3B Zach Lutz is back and of course hitting: 2-for-3 with a homer and two walks.
Chris Schwinden, back with the Mets is working on getting stretched out again: 4 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 k.
Jenrry Mejia stranded both of the runners he inherited from Justin Hampson in the seventh, but gave up a solo homer in the eighth. He walked one and struck out one.
CF Matt den Dekker was 1-for-5 with two more strikeouts. That’s now 37 whiffs (against just five walks) in 28 games as part of a .213/.240/.434 line in AAA. He’ll be 25 in August so the longer he struggles in AAA the less it looks like he’ll be not just an impact big leaguer, but a big league regular of any kind.