Skip to content
dailynews
August 22, 2019

Zack Wheeler has a rough night out against the Braves

August 14, 2019

ATLANTA – Pitching in his home state may have induced nostalgia, but it certainly did not inspire results for Zack Wheeler on a humid 94-degree night at SunTrust Park.

The right-hander got lit up by a potent Braves lineup in the Mets’ 5-3 loss in the series opener on Tuesday. Wheeler surrendered a career-high 12 hits that produced five earned runs in his 23rd start of the year. Wheeler, born in Smyrna, GA, completed just five innings on 91 pitches. He was clumsy on the mound and appeared utterly exhausted on a night when players frequently removed their helmets to wipe the sweat off their brows.

Advertisement

Zack Wheeler did not bring his best stuff to the mound while pitching in his home state Tuesday night. (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

“You’re going out there throwing 20 pitches an inning and it’s 100 degrees,” Wheeler said. “Yeah, you’re going to be a little tired. But no excuses. I missed spots and they made me pay for it. It stinks. We were on this run and I just didn’t give us a chance to win. This one’s on me.”

Tuesday was Wheeler’s third start against the Braves this season, and all of them have taken place with the backdrop of thousands of fans imitating the infamous and insensitive Tomahawk chop. The Braves have smoked Wheeler in back-to-back outings this year. He coughed up five runs (four earned) on 10 hits across six rocky innings when he faced them last on June 17. After his latest scuffle, Wheeler’s ERA jumped to 5.82 against Atlanta this season.

Compounding on the loss, Jeff McNeil exited the game in the ninth inning with hamstring tightness sustained while running out a grounder. He’s scheduled to receive an MRI in Atlanta on Wednesday morning.

The Mets offense, lively and determined of late, was subdued against Braves southpaw Max Fried. He limited the Amazin’s to one run on six hits over six innings. Fried punched out Amed Rosario, J.D. Davis and Jeff McNeil, twice. Juan Lagares, though, went 4-for-4 on the day and three of those hits came against Fried. He crossed home plate on McNeil’s RBI single in the second inning and collected an RBI single to score Michael Conforto in the eighth.

“We didn’t give up tonight,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “We made it interesting. We made them use some relievers they probably didn’t want to use, which helps us out for tomorrow.”

The Braves snapped Wheeler’s streak of 15 scoreless innings in the first inning, when they tagged him for two runs. The opening frame was the right-hander’s shakiest of the night. Wheeler coughed up four singles and a walk before ending the inning on a generous strike-three call from home-plate umpire Dan Bellino. The Mets starter, who was at the center of trade rumors last month, did not record a single clean inning on Tuesday.

Ronald Acuna Jr., a 21-year-old star from Venezuela turning heads around the league, slugged his 34th home run of the season for the Braves in the fourth inning. Wheeler served up a 97-mph heater in the middle of the zone that lost steam, and Acuna parked it in the left-field seats of SunTrust Park. It was the 18th home run Wheeler has allowed this year.

“If you miss your spot, he’s going to hit it,” Wheeler said on facing Acuna. “I’ve had a little success against him, he’s had success against me. He’s a good young player. When you miss your spots, he’s going to make you pay, more than likely.”

Advertisement

Facebook Comments
Premium WordPress Themes Download
Download WordPress Themes Free
Download WordPress Themes Free
Download WordPress Themes
udemy course download free