The 2013 Mets season has been all about individual performances. With the Mets still building for the future and far out of contention for even a Wild Card spot, the development of young players is a lot more interesting than where the Mets finish in the standings.
Zack Wheeler is one of those players, and on Thursday night, he made his best start as a major league player. The same was said of Wheeler’s last start, too, but this one was even better. Wheeler struck out twelve and only walked one. He allowed one run to score in six innings, though he threw 115 pitches and got some help from outfielders Eric Young, who turned a would-be home run into a triple with his glove, and Juan Lagares, who threw out a runner at home plate.
Still, Wheeler was impressive. 73 of his 115 pitches were strikes, and he generated 13 swinging strikes—an 11.3 percent rate that’s well above league average.
It wasn’t all Wheeler in the win, however, as the Mets managed to score four runs. The first came in the fourth inning, which began with a single by Daniel Murphy. Two outs later, Murphy had moved to second on a ground out, and Josh Satin legged out an infield single—and might have gotten a beneficial call from the first base umpire—as Murphy came in from second to score the first run of the game.
San Diego loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth, but the only run Wheeler allowed came on a Jaff Decker (not a typo) sacrifice fly.
The game remained tied at one through the seventh inning, the bottom of half of which was thrown by Scott Atchison. Then the Mets reclaimed the lead in the eighth.
With one out, Mike Baxter wash it by a pitch in the foot, and after Eric Young was retired, Baxter swiped second base. The Padres chose to intentionally walk Daniel Murphy, a move that backfired shortly thereafter. Marlon Byrd doubled over the head of Padres right fielder Chris Denorfia, and both runners scored easily.
Gonzalez Germen threw the bottom of the eighth before John Buck added an insurance run on a solo home run in the top of the ninth. Germen came back on for the ninth and retired the side in order to end the game. A non-heralded call-up, Germen now has a 2.60 ERA and 2.70 FIP in 17.1 innings with the Mets this year.
SB Nation Coverage
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Marlon Byrd, +34.5% WPA, Zack Wheeler, +18.5% WPA
Big losers: Eric Young, -16.4% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Byrd’s two-run double in the eighth, +38.9% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Denorfia’s single to load the bases in the fourth, -8.6% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +37.7% WPA
Total batter WPA: +12.3% WPA
GWRBI!: Marlon Byrd