Things you should know about today's game...
1) Zack Wheeler allowed two runs and eight hits over six innings in his best start in over a month. The right-hander walked one and struck out five, but did allow a solo homer to Paul DeJong, the sixth he's allowed in his last 12 2/3 innings.
2) T.J. Rivera had three hits and Jay Bruce homered for the third straight game to account for the Mets' only run. He and Jose Reyes both finished with two hits. Travis d'Arnaud popped out with two runners on in the seventh and Lucas Duda and Reyes flied out with a pair on in the ninth.
3) After Bruce's solo homer cut the lead to 2-1 in the seventh, New York's bullpen allowed two runs on three hits and four walks in two innings.
Post-game reaction from Michael Avallone...
A very promising start for Wheeler, who needed one in the worst way. Following two of the worst starts you'll ever see a pitcher toss -- consecutively, no less -- and another abbreviated outing in his return from the disabled list, the 27-year-old proved capable on Saturday. His velocity was consistently in the 95-96 mph range and he incorporated more off-speed offerings, which is something Terry Collins and Dan Warthen have been imploring him to do more of. He wasn't dominant by any stretch, but it was a very solid start, any way you slice it.
As for the offense...not much doing on a hot St. Louis afternoon. Adam Wainwright had the Mets' number from the first pitch and looked a whole lot different than the pitcher who carried an ERA north of five into the day. The veteran right-hander allowed just two singles through six innings before the Mets awoke in the seventh. Bruce's solo homer and singles by T.J. Rivera and Reyes chased Wainwright after 6 2/3, but he looked nothing like the struggling hurler who had a 7.53 ERA since June 1.
It's hard to say how things might have turned had the score remained 2-1. Perhaps the Mets' offense would have stayed asleep, perhaps they would have come to life. We'll never know, but the bullpen basically made it a moot point by coughing up to key insurance runs. While the rotation has endured its fair share of struggles, there is an injury aspect to consider. Not so with the relievers. With the exception of Jeurys Familia, the entire bullpen has been healthy ... and unproductive and painful to watch. Discounting Addison Reed, and up until recently Jerry Blevins, the pen has done more to sabotage New York this year than any singular issue, save injuries. What a horror show... >> To follow Michael on Twitter, click here.
Highlights from the game...
News and notes...
The Mets have homered in all but five of their 42 road games this season.
The top three batters in New York's lineup -- Curtis Granderson, Asdrubal Cabrera and Yoenis Cespedes -- combined to go 0-for-12 with four strikeouts.
Bruce has gone deep in three straight games and is 6-for-10 with three homers, a double and four RBIs after an 0-for-19 stretch.
Reyes is hitting .412 (14-for-34) with seven extra-base hits and five RBIs in his last 10 games. Conversely, Cespedes is 6-for-his-last-43 (.140) with no extra-base hits or RBIs.
Wheeler (3-6) has allowed two runs or fewer in nine of his 15 starts this season.
D'Arnaud threw out a pair of runners attempting to steal.
DeJong doubled three times and homered for the second straight day to finish 4-for-4. He's gone 7-for-8 with four doubles, two home runs and three RBIs in the first two games for St. Louis.
Michael Conforto (wrist) was activated off the 10-day disabled list prior to the game. Brandon Nimmo (collapsed left lung) was placed on the DL to make room.
What they said after the game...
Wheeler on his first half: "Honestly, I just didn't know what to expect coming back, with arm troubles or command or whatever it may be. I felt fine most of the time. Those past three games really got away from me. I was doing OK up until then. But I'm feeling comfortable."
The Mets (39-46) complete the first half of their season against the Cardinals (42-45) at Busch Stadium on Sunday at 2 p.m. on SNY.
Steven Matz (2-1, 2.12 ERA, 1.03 WHIP) carries a 17-inning scoreless streak into his sixth start of the season. The 26-year-old has pitched seven innings in four of his five outings and has gone at least six frames 10 consecutive times dating back to last season. Matz has never faced St. Louis.
Lance Lynn (6-6, 3.87 ERA 1.18 WHIP) enters his final start of the first half coming off a loss to the Marlins on Tuesday. The 30-year-old surrendered four runs -- two earned -- in 5 1/3 innings to suffer his third defeat in four starts. Lynn has not faced the Mets in his career.