Heading into Saturday's meeting with the Cincinnati Reds, Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler had been dealing as of late.
Wheeler had only allowed one earned run in his last four-straight outings.
Make it five.
Wheeler's ERA dropped to 3.99 after the contest, but unfortunately his team fell 3-2 in a critical late-season loss.
In the first and fifth innings against the Reds, Wheeler found himself in tough spot. Third baseman Todd Frazier put Wheeler in a squeeze early thanks to some sloppy defense, which eventually led to two Reds' runs. In the fifth, the Reds had two hits with no outs, then Wheeler shut them down.
Following the game, Wheeler credited his focus as to how he continued his recent stretch of strong pitching.
"Just bear down. Any time in the season, but this time in particular, with everything on the line basically, you've got to bear down, make your pitches, give it all you got, and that's what I tried to do today," Wheeler said.
After two runs crossed home in the first frame, Wheeler tossed six more shutout innings to give the Mets a chance. But in the eighth inning, Seth Lugo allowed the eventual game-winning run and the Mets offense went to sleep, even failing to capitalize further with the bases loaded in the fifth.
That left a sour taste in everyone's mouth, which was the overlying theme in the Mets locker room following the loss.
"Wheel pitched a hell of a game. We had opportunities and we just didn't get it done," Frazier said.
"It's not good," Wheeler added. "We need to win some ball games. It's coming down to crunch time, bottom line, we need a win. Today hurts, but we've got to pick it right back up and go out there and win the series tomorrow."