For the most part, Zack Wheeler's season debut for the Mets on Sunday was a great start to the new year. But he really wants to take one inning back.
Wheeler's day began relatively silent. He had two runners on first and second in the first inning, but he got out of that jam. And the second inning saw a 1-2-3 half with his third strikeout of the day to move onto the third.
But that's where the wheels fell off a bit. In just four pitches, the Nats strung together a double, single, and a Trea Turner three-run homer to give the home team a 3-1 lead in a hurry. From there, Wheeler would let up one more run before his day ended after five frames.
After the game, Wheeler noted feeling great on the bump, but that one inning left him frustrated because of how he attacked the Nats.
"I think I just got a little fastball happy that inning and I think they just came up that inning just looking for fastballs early in the count," he told reporters. "That's what I'm really upset about is not recognizing that earlier so we're falling into a routine. He got me so that's sort of a mental note that you take and carry it over to the next start."
Wheeler believed the pitch would have been a strike on the inside corner, as the ball looked to be headed right where Wilson Ramos set up. Turner, though, was looking fastball all the way and turned on the 89-mph heater to send it 440 feet to left field.
Despite the hiccup, manager Mickey Callaway thought Wheeler looked good in his first outing of 2019.
"I thought Wheeler threw the ball good," he said. "I thought that one inning where he gave up three runs, they were ambushing him. We didn't quite recognize it maybe early enough. And then after that, he settled in, started going his breaking ball first pitch, offset what they were trying to do. His stuff is there."
A no-decision may have come Wheeler's way thanks to the Mets tying the game with a three-run eighth, but he has the mindset that they wouldn't have been in that position if he wasn't so fastball happy.
"I felt good about today in general," Wheeler said. "Command was good for the most part. Split-finger wasn't that good, but the slider and curve were. Like I said, I'm just beating myself up right now on falling into that little groove of just fastball happiness."
Luckily for Wheeler, he'll have the chance to rectify his mistakes when the Nationals come to Flushing for the Mets first home series this week.