Well, well, well… that’s how you go out there and inspire everyone to believe in you again, Mr. Zack Wheeler. You go out there and toss six innings of one-run ball, allow only three hits and one walk, then strike out six as the cherry on top of the cake. I was a little worried about Wheeler before this game started, ranging from his mechanics to whether he was going to run into more command issues.
Whether it was mechanics, mental, or just plain rust – Wheeler responded to doubters in a big way. He gave up his only run in the second inning when he gave up a single, induced two ground outs, and then allowed a two-out RBI single to Carter Jurica. After that, Wheeler turned on the cruise control switch and pitched the next four innings while allowing only one hit (to Jurica once again) and recording all six of his punchouts.
Wheeler was afforded a lead after the top of the third when he scored a run himself on a two-run homer from Kirk Nieuwenhuis. I personally think Wheeler turned it up a notch in this game once he was given that lead because he was absolutely dominant moving forward.
He was removed after 95 pitches – 62 of them being strikes. His fastball sat between 92-96 MPH on the evening. With the Super Two date basically becoming a non-issue now, once Wheeler strings together a few starts like this, expect him in Flushing. It’s imminent.
So I’ll leave you all with his final line for emphasis: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 1 ER, 6 K, 62:33 Strike/Ball Ratio.