Whether you wanted Zack Wheeler to show that he was an outstanding trade chip or that he had become too good for the Mets to trade, he put on one hell of a show in his Sunday afternoon start in Pittsburgh.
He didn’t literally do it by himself, but the 28-year-old did all any National League manager could ask his starting pitcher to do. Wheeler threw six scoreless innings and looked sharp in the process, as he struck out seven, walked one, and gave up just five hits. The Pirates never really looked like they had a chance against him.
On top of that stellar performance on the mound, Wheeler drove in the only run that scored in the game. That came in the fifth inning, as Luis Guillorme hit a seemingly innocuous infield single with two outs just before Wheeler came up and ripped a double to right field to plate Guillorme easily.
Between Guillorme’s single and the bullpen’s performance after Wheeler departed, the pitcher had some help. Seth Lugo threw a couple of scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth, and Anthony Swarzak looked fantastic—perhaps for the first time—as he threw a scoreless ninth to close out the victory.
Though the odds of a trade seem increasingly slim, if this was Wheeler’s last appearance with the Mets, it was a good one. In better circumstances, it might even be fit to call it memorable. But these Mets aren’t particularly memorable or noteworthy on a game-by-game basis.
If Wheeler is traded, here’s hoping the players who come back to the Mets in a deal bring them back to relevance in short order. If not, here’s hoping that he does it himself.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Zack Wheeler, +37.7% WPA (pitching), +14.2% WPA (hitting), Seth Lugo, +25.0% WPA, Anthony Swarzak, +20.0% WPA
Big losers: Amed Rosario, -16.8% WPA, Kevin Plawecki, -15.6% WPA, Wilmer Flores, -10.1% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Zack Wheeler doubles to score the game’s only run, +15.9% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Kevin Plawecki grounds into a double play in the fifth, -9.9% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +82.7% WPA
Total batter WPA: -32.5% WPA
GWRBI!: Zack Wheeler