Sent to the minors to begin the season, Zack Wheeler made it very clear that he’d prefer not to go back. Having been outshined in spring training, the 27-year-old righty was impressive in his lone start back at Triple-A as the minor league season got underway, and his success—combined with the success of Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo—got him a start in the Mets’ series finale in Miami on Wednesday night.
Just the fact that Wheeler made the start was something of an achievement for the Mets. For the first time ever, the team’s once-vaunted starting rotation took a turn together, with Wheeler joining Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, and Matt Harvey in making a start.
But this start in Miami, where Wheeler’s best major league start took place several years ago, wasn’t just a novelty. Often criticized for inefficiency, Wheeler was the polar opposite in this start. He threw just 83 pitches in seven innings, and in that time, he struck out seven, walked one, and allowed just one run on a solo shot by Miguel Rojas in the first inning. Sure, the Marlins aren’t sending out much of a major league lineup right now, but of the three Mets starters to face the team, Wheeler easily had the best start.
As for the game itself, the Mets nearly wasted that performance. Marlins starter Jarlin Garcia, making his first major league start after previously working exclusively out of the bullpen in his big league career, held the Mets hit-less through six innings. It wasn’t until Todd Frazier singled with one out in the seventh that the team broke up a potential combined-no-no.
The Mets didn’t score in that inning, but they finally put it all together in the eighth. The rally got started when Kevin Plawecki was hit on the hand by a 100-mile-per-hour fastball—one that luckily resulted in negative x-rays. And one out later, pinch hitter Michael Conforto doubled, with Mets third base coach Glenn Sherlock holding Plawecki at third. Pinch hitter Adrian Gonzalez erased any questions about what could have been, though, with a single that plated both baserunners to give the Mets a 2-1 lead. And later in the inning, a Wilmer Flores ground rule double scored one, and Todd Frazier did the same with a sac fly.
Robert Gsellman took over for the eighth and was downright filthy once again. He struck out all three batters he faced, and his sinker was thrown hard with a ton of movement, continuing what he’s shown previously this season. The tag team of Jerry Blevins and A.J. Ramos took the ninth, and it was Ramos who allowed the inning’s only baserunner, on a one-out walk, whom he quickly erased by inducing a game-ending double play.
The Mets are 10-1. Really.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Adrian Gonzalez, +28.8% WPA, Zack Wheeler, +20.9% WPA, Michael Conforto, +20.6% WPA, Kevin Plawecki, +12.9% WPA
Big losers: Jay Bruce, -18.0% WPA, Amed Rosario, -14.3% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Adrian Gonzalez hits a two-run single in the eighth, +28.8% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Miguel Rojas hits a solo home run in the first, -10.4% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +29.8% WPA
Total batter WPA: +20.2% WPA
GWRBI!: Adrian Gonzalez