Mets Morning News: Wheeler rolls over Phils, another team fires a hitting coach

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Your Friday morning dose of New York Mets and Major League Baseball news, notes, and links.

Meet the Mets

Zack Wheeler and the bullpen combined for 15 strikeouts, Chris Young hit a home run, and the Amazins defeated the Phillies 4-1 in the first game of their five-game series.

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Wheeler showed superior command throughout his six-plus innings, and he felt pretty good about the start.

In an article written prior to Wheeler's Thursday night start, ESPN stats expert Mark Simon discussed why the right-handed pitcher's strong stuff wasn't producing a good ERA so far.

Great news for Frank Viola and his family: The 1988 Cy Young Award winner has fully recovered from heart surgery and is ready to resume his duties as pitching coach for the Las Vegas 51s.

Terry Collins plans to insert Bobby Abreu into the starting lineup tonight against Phillies right-hander A.J. Burnett. The 40-year-old outfielder will presumably take the place of either Chris Young or Curtis Granderson.

With Travis d'Arnaud back in the lineup, Collins knows the Mets need to get more offense from the catcher position.

Apparently talking about Tommy John surgery while a young pitcher is on the mound is a bad omen.

Around the NL East

The Braves led 3-1 in the bottom of the eighth, but they couldn't hold the lead and Atlanta lost to the Red Sox for the fourth time in four games. Boston walked off for the win when Tommy La Stella misplayed a Chris Johnson throw in the bottom of the ninth.

Three National League outfielders have more All-Star votes than Giancarlo Stanton so far. That's not right, even if the Marlins aren't the world's most popular franchise.

Federal Baseball's Garrett Hooe has some in-depth analysis on Nats ace Stephen Strasburg. He's pitching even better than his 3.42 ERA would indicate this season.

The Good Phight was impressed by Wheeler's performance last night.

Around the Majors

Ted Berg suggests that pitchers with a greater difference between their average fastball velocity and maximum fastball velocity could be better at avoiding Tommy John surgery than those who pitch with max effort all the time. It probably wasn't such a good idea for Matt Harvey to throw 96 miles per hour during his bullpen sessions, then.

Former Mets shortstop Jose Reyes had some kind words for recently fired hitting coach Dave Hudgens. According to Reyes, Hudgens' advice and support helping him win the NL batting title in 2011.

Speaking of hitting coaches, the Royals reassigned Pedro Grifol and gave the job to former Cubs manager Dale Sveum, who is already on Kansas City's staff. The Royals are supposed to make a run at the AL Wild Card this season, but right now they are 25-28 and last in the AL in OPS.

The shakeup in Kansas City appeared to pay immediate dividends, as the Royals upended the Blue Jays, 8-6. Although that ended Toronto's winning streak at nine games, Edwin Encarnacion stayed red hot by blasting a pair of homers and bringing his May total to 16.

The New York Times tells the tale of Yankees batting practice pitcher Danilo Valiente and his unlikely rise to the majors.

Yesterday at AA

Zack Wheeler was born on this date in 1990!

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