So Zack Wheeler got rocked by the Nationals last night. So what? Seeing red flags already?
Seriously, isn’t this a normal thing? Which starting pitcher not named Matt Harvey wasn’t going through growing pains after his call-up to the show. Wheeler was good (not great) against Atlanta. Struggled against the White Sox, but was able to keep the game close. And got lit up against the Nationals. And lest we forget, that’s the Nationals, who were supposed to run away with the division title this year. So it’s not like he was pitching against minor league opposition.
I’ll be honest, I liked what I saw against Atlanta, I didn’t watch the game against the Southsiders, and I was impressed by the first inning yesterday. And then things fell apart. So is there reason to be worried?
Wheeler was called up in mid June. Here are his AAA numbers up until the game against Atlanta:
13 G, 4-2, 3.93 ERA, 68.2 IP, 61 H, 27 BB, 73 K, 1.282 WHIP
I’m no expert, but this isn’t something I’d call eyepopping. The way I see it this is the line of a good pitcher. But it doesn’t look like somebody who will dominate major league opposition right from the start. Now, since everybody seems to be lumping the two together, let’s take a look at what Mr Harvey did until he was called up last year (to be honest, I have no idea I’m going with this, I’ll just play with numbers, I guess):
20 G, 7-5, 3.68 ERA, 119.0 IP, 97 H, 48 BB, 112 K, 1.318 WHIP
Fairly similar. Wheelers WHIP is a tad bit better, Harvey was striking out more people. So now for good measure I’ll compare Wheeler and Harvey through their first three starts.
Wheeler 3 G, 1-1, 5.06 ERA, 16.0 IP, 14 H, 10 BB, 13 K
Harvey 3 G, 1-2, 3.68 ERA, 16.1 IP, 15 H, 7 BB, 23 K
Except for the higher ERA with Wheeler that’s pretty similar. Everybody knows Harvey is a strikeout machine, so the Ks don’t come as a surprise. But the number of innings pitched is striking. I remember thinking last year that Harvey needs to become more efficient. Which he did. And now we all know that Wheeler has difficulty in hiding his breaking pitches and his changeup. And he still has the time to work on that, because this season isn’t going anywhere for the Mets. I’m sorry if I just tore down your dreams.
All I’m saying is, the kid needs time. And the organization (and the fans) should give it to him. Let him work. If need be, even in AAA. But give him time. Because I think we all agree that the stuff is there. He just needs to find a way to translate it to the majors.