Zack Wheeler had a forgettable return to the mound Friday, surrendering five earned runs over four innings on a brutally cold and windy night at Citi Field that had no semblance to the tropical paradise in which he had won his job this spring.
Wheeler’s fastball had early juice, but commanding his offspeed pitches was a challenge, and pretty soon the Marlins were jumping on his heat.The worst thing a starting pitcher can do is not give his team a chance to win and give Zack Wheeler credit for owning up to that last night. And granted it's only one start that you hope he can learn from, but with Matz and Lugo down, it's extra emphasis on hoping for the best from Wheeler.
It’s a performance Wheeler should discard, right after he appreciates the fact he was back pitching for the Mets following two frustrating years of rehab from Tommy John surgery.
Not every comeback will be a success story from the start. Matt Harvey, returning from surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, was terrific in his 2017 debut a night earlier, but Wheeler is clearly at a different place.
“I wanted to come out here and dominate today,” Wheeler said after the Mets’ 7-2 loss. “Just put my foot that I’m back and I belong here. But something as small as controlling your offspeed [pitches], that is easy to fix. I’m not that down. It stinks that I lost, but it’s a long season and I will be better. ”
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