“I can actually smile after a start now,” Wheeler said after the game. "“I was moving it all around the place today. I was able to do that with control. It makes it easy for me instead of having to stay out there and battle the whole time.”
In 11 starts this season, Wheeler is 2-5 with a 4.31 ERA, during which he's struck out 62 batters in 62 innings.
“He finally knows he belongs here,” Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen said (Daily News, May 30). “He’s thrown several games that I’ve really liked, but he is getting more focused. He knows he doesn’t have to overthrow, he can relax and let the ball go. His stuff beats anybody, he doesn’t have to make it any better.”
I loved this start from Wheeler, mostly because he pitched so well inside. He's done this before, but he was extra successful against the Phillies, I'm thinking maybe because they have so many left-handed hitters. In either case, the Phillies looked reluctant to lean out and chase a weak pitch outside. They weren't hitting his mistakes, because he clearly had them guessing. This was very encouraging...
He's trending toward ending the season with an ERA around 4.00 ERA and roughly 200 strike outs and 180 innings, which would be an incredible first full season in the big leagues. He looked a lot more consistent with his delivery on Thursday. I think Faith and Fear in Flushing's Greg Prince is right, when he told me, Wheeler (like most young pitchers) is going to have two good starts for every bad start. However, he has enough talent that he should eventually make that three good starts for every bad start, then four good for every bad, then five, and so on, until he becomes that consistent, dominant, front-end starting pitcher we all expect him to be.