“Wheeler Day” (or whatever we’re calling it) wasn’t very much fun.
Part of the problem is that the Chicago White Sox, for all of their offense’s flaws, are not the free-swinging team that the Atlanta Braves are. Mostly, though, the issue is that Zack Wheeler was making just his second major league start and he’s not quite a polished pitcher yet.
And we’re not giving him much of a chance to be a rookie who’s getting on-the-job training on a pretty big stage. SNY has been hyping Wheeler so much that it feels like a disappointment when he doesn’t equal Matt Harvey‘s performance – never mind that Harvey has been doing things that no pitcher has done in decades. The Mets themselves are offering a ticket deal and a bizarre t-shirt for Wheeler’s scheduled Citi Field debut Sunday.
Let’s just dial down the hype and watch to see how Wheeler develops over the course of the summer, ok?
(And if Harvey, Wheeler, and any other Mets pitching prospects have any hope of decent records, Sandy Alderson has to keep working on ways to improve the offense. Eric Young Jr. provided a short-term spark, but it’s not enough. I’ll overlook four hits and 13 strikeouts tonight because Chris Sale is a good pitcher, but the Mets are not facing All-Star quality pitching every night.)
I’d like to look at the ninth inning comeback as a positive sign, but the dropped popup that should have ended the game was a fluke and Daniel Murphy didn’t even hustle out of the box. And when you tie up the game only to lose it in the bottom half of the inning for the second time in four days, it would be tough to find the positive no matter how it played out.
Tomorrow, Shaun Marcum will try to avoid his his 10th loss of the season. There’s a reason for optimism…