Mets RHP Zack Wheeler allowed four runs on six hits in four innings on Tuesday night against the Cardinals.
Tommy Pham kickstarted the Cardinals' offense in the first inning with a two-run homer and Wheeler ran into trouble again in the fourth inning when Kolten Wong and Luke Weaver each had RBI hits to extend St. Louis' lead.
Wheeler, pitching on extra rest due to a rainout on Sunday, walked two batters and had three strikeouts while throwing 83 pitches on the night.
Tuesday's start marked the most runs Wheeler allowed in a start this season. He limited the Marlins to one run in seven innings on April 11 before allowing three runs on seven hits against the Nationals last week.
Wheeler, 27, now has a 4.24 ERA after three major league starts this season.
Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Zack Wheeler's struggles on Tuesday -- he induced just three swings and misses and couldn't make it past the fourth inning -- provided a reminder of why the team was initially reluctant to remove Matt Harvey from the rotation. Wheeler's body of work this year has hardly been enough to convince the Mets that it's safe to rely on him full-time.
But Harvey was bad enough in Atlanta to earn the demotion, and the Mets were left to hope that Wheeler could stay hot. They knew it wasn't a safe bet, but had no other choice.
Steven Matz has been inconsistent, too, creating an odd situation where three former phenoms in Wheeler, Matz, and Harvey will be consistently fighting to prove themselves, while the team will rely on veteran lefty Jason Vargas to provide more consistency.
Vargas is set to join the rotation Saturday, and will be a crucial piece behind Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom. Talking to a team official recently, I mentioned that the back end of the rotation seemed shaky. "Yeah, but we've got Vargas coming," the official said.
The Mets had better be right about Vargas. He's not a luxury, but a vital piece, if this team hopes to contend despite the disappointing careers of three onetime pitching prospects.