Zack Wheeler's command of the strike zone, willingness to pitch to contact led to his brilliant start

Zack Wheeler's command of the strike zone, willingness to pitch to contact led to his brilliant start

by Tim Reilly April 12, 2018 0 Comments

Zack Wheeler was at the top of his game Wednesday night's Mets’ 4-1 win. 

Wheeler allowed one run over seven innings, struck out seven ,and walked one in an impressive season debut.

It the first time the "Fireball Five,” as Gary Cohen refers to them, started five consecutive games, and that has to be particularly meaningful to Wheeler. Zack has often been the forgotten man, injured man, or the odd man out. On Wednesday, he looked like a man on a mission.

Throughout his career, my biggest issue with Wheeler has been his lack of command. He has reminded me of John Maine: a power-arm pitcher that has little control over his fastball, and more often than not, is flirting with 100 pitches around the 5th inning. It can be frustrating to watch when you see what kind of raw talent he possesses.

But on Wednesday, Wheeler was attacking the zone on a consist basis, and needed just 83 pitches to get through seven. He was hitting targets, and he wasn’t always looking for the strikeout. Wheeler was getting easy outs by placing the ball where he needed to in and around the zone. This was the man we were promised and have waited for.

Finally, someone appears to have gotten through to Wheeler about challenging hitters. That's been Dave Eiland and Mickey Callaway's philosophy for practically everyone on the staff, and it was great to see Wheeler shift into attack mode. If Wheeler wants to remain in the rotation, this is the mentality he needs to take with him each and every start. Welcome back, Zack!




Tim Reilly
Tim Reilly

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T7L contributing blogger - Follow Tim on Twitter




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