Mets RHP Zack Wheeler has notoriously struggled each spring training during his career. And he hopes to put that behind him come the regular season.
Wheeler allowed three runs, four hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings in Sunday's 10-8 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. Combined with his debut, he is 0-1 with a 10.13 ERA so far this spring, having allowed five runs (three earned) and five hits in 2 2/3 innings.
But the 28-year-old Wheeler, who ended last year on an 8-1 run with a 1.59 ERA over his final 10 starts, believes he isn't far off from matching that pace.
"I'll go back and watch video from last year and get my body used to repeating [those mechanics]," Wheeler said. "That's definitely where I want to be, sooner than later."
Wheeler has a career 6.27 ERA in 18 spring training games (15 starts) since 2013. Last year, he had an 8.10 ERA in 10 innings, and in 2017 he had a 5.11 ERA in 12 1/3 innings.
"I did think mechanically he looked good," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said.
Even though the Cardinals knocked Wheeler out of the game in the second inning -- Matt Carpenter hit a two-out, two-run home run and Dexter Fowler singled before Callaway took Wheeler out of the game -- Callaway pointed to how Wheeler reached the upper 90s with his fastball, a promising sign given how Wheeler is the No. 3 pitcher in New York's rotation behind Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard.
"He's the third starter in camp to hit 99 (mph), so his mechanics and health are right where they need to be," Callaway said.
Though Wheeler struggled in spring training last year, he threw seven innings of one-run ball in his regular-season debut last year. And he hopes to start the 2019 season the way he ended 2018: dominant.
"My goal is to get there right now, but I have more reps to figure itself out," Wheeler said.