Less than 24 hours since his status as a New York Met was up in the air, Zack Wheeler took the mound in Chicago and had one of the best starts of his season as the Mets nabbed a 4-0 victory from the White Sox.
Through seven strong innings, Wheeler didn’t allow a single run to score while only allowing four scattered hits, walking none, and striking out seven on his way to his eighth victory of the year. In fact, Wheeler was so firmly in the driver’s seat that he didn’t allow any of the four men that reached base to advance to second.
After Dylan Cease struck out a pair of Mets in his first inning of work, Zack Wheeler took the mound and immediately struck out Leury Garcia on four pitches before getting a pair of groundouts to secure a perfect first inning of his own. Unfortunately for the White Sox, the dueling perfect games didn’t make it more than six outs into the game.
To start off the top of the second inning, Robinson Cano sent Cease’s fastball up and over the wall in left field to give the Mets a 1-0 lead and to give himself his 10th homer of the year, becoming the ninth Met to reach that plateau. It looked as if the Mets were putting something together as Wilson Ramos reached base on a walk, a J.D. Davis double play and a Todd Frazier liner ended the inning with Cano’s home run being the only real action.
From there, the third inning came and went with nothing more than an Adeiny Hechavarria single that was quickly canceled out by Jeff McNeil’s double play. The fourth inning was more zeros as Zack Wheeler struck out three White Sox with a single from Jose Abreu sandwiched in the middle. In the fifth inning, offense remained hard to come by, but Jeff McNeil had no problem stealing the show with a one of the best highlights of the year for New York. As Eloy Jiminez lofted a ball down the line in right field, McNeil did his best Spider-Man impression, leaving his feet and throwing himself into the newly-installed netting down the line and bouncing back into play for the first out of the inning.
When the Mets came back up to the plate in the sixth inning, the offense began to show itself for the first time on the afternoon. Hechavarria walked to lead things off and Jeff McNeil smacked a duck snort over the left side of the infield to put two men on base with none out. It almost looked as if Cease would be able to wiggle out of trouble as Michael Conforto grounded out and Hechavarria was erased trying to come home on a grounder by Pete Alonso, but Robinson Cano made sure that the Mets wouldn’t go down quietly. On the first pitch he saw, Cano smoked a liner that one-hopped the wall to bring home Jeff McNeil and send Pete Alonso to third to give Wilson Ramos a chance to add some insurance runs. Ramos didn’t disappoint, sending a grounder through the right side of the infield to bring home Alonso while Cano snuck into home on an error by the catcher, Welington Castillo who couldn’t hold on to the ball. Davis struck out swinging on three straight fastballs to end the inning, but the damage was done as the Mets held a 4-0 lead.
Wheeler and Cease traded zeros for the rest of the sixth inning and all of the seventh before the bullpens came into the game to try and keep the score where it was. Both ends of the eighth inning started with a leadoff walk that never never reached second base as Luis Avilan and some superb defense from Amed Rosario kept things were they were heading into the ninth.
Carson Fulmer did his job to keep the Mets off the board as Luis Avilan came out to start his second inning of work in the ninth. Mickey Callaway’s strategy worked as Avilan retired the one man he faced before Jeurys Familia was called into the game for the final two outs. A flyball and a strikeout later, Familia had done his job and secured the Mets 4-0 win over the White Sox. With their seventh win and second sweep in a row, the Mets pulled themselves within two games of .500 and four games of the second Wild Card spot.
The Mets bring Hot Boy Summer to Pittsburgh tomorrow as Steven Matz takes the mound against Trevor Williams and the Pirates at 7:05 EDT
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Zack Wheeler +37.2 WPA, Robinson Cano +22.5% WPA, Wilson Ramos +13.9% WPA
Big losers: Pete Alonso -13.2% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +41.7% WPA
Total batter WPA: +8.3% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Robinson Cano’s run-scoring double in the sixth, +13.4% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Adeiny Hechavarria getting thrown out at home in the sixth, -10.2% WPA