Perhaps a date with one of the worst teams in baseball can boost his confidence.
The Mets will try to begin a nine-game road trip in positive fashion Friday night when they send the hard-throwing right-hander to the mound against the lowly Milwaukee Brewers .
While he hasn't made it out of the sixth inning in his last two starts, Wheeler (1-1, 5.06 ERA) may have to pick up a tired New York bullpen in this contest following Thursday's 5-4, 15-inning loss to Arizona. That four-game set, which also included a 13-inning game, saw Mets relievers throw a combined 20 innings.
"It's tough not to come up on top there at the end, but it's a 162-game season and we've got to bring it tomorrow," said Kirk Nieuwenhuis , who homered in the 14th to tie Thursday's game.
Wheeler struck out seven over six shutout innings in a 6-1 victory over Atlanta on June 18 to win his big league debut, but he's since allowed nine runs and 10 hits - three homers - over 10 innings.
"He's a work in progress and his future is bright and his ceiling is high," manager Terry Collins said after Wheeler yielded five runs over 4 2-3 innings in a 13-2 loss to Washington on Sunday.
The Brewers (34-50), though, have shown signs of improvement without their stars.
After totaling 11 runs in its final five games of June while batting .167 with runners in scoring position, Milwaukee hit .281 in those situations and scored 18 runs in a four-game split at Washington this week.
Carlos Gomez hit his team-leading 13th home run and 18th double Thursday, but Milwaukee lost 8-5 when reliever Brandon Kintzler gave up a go-ahead, three-run homer to Wilson Ramos in the seventh inning.
Gomez might be rested in this contest after getting pulled late in the game. Manager Ron Roenicke said Gomez's bothersome shoulder had tightened up following a collision with the outfield wall, though the center fielder said he was fine.
"It surprised me when I got out of the game," said Gomez, "especially after I hit a home run."
Leadoff hitter Norichika Aoki went 8 for 20 with three RBIs in the series with the Nationals. He hit .353 against the Mets last season as the Brewers won three of five meetings.
New York's Daniel Murphy went 8 for 18 with a homer, two doubles and four RBIs versus the Brewers last season. He's a career .358 hitter against them.
The Mets (35-47) had won 10 of 15 overall before dropping their last two games to the Diamondbacks to cap a 3-4 homestand.
Josh Satin has given New York a lift, hitting safely in 10 straight games and batting .414 over the last seven with seven extra-base hits and five RBIs. He's hitting .353 in 18 games since being called up from the minors.
Satin and the Mets will face right-hander Johnny Hellweg (0-1, 20.25), who makes his first career start at Miller Park.
Hellweg had a rough major league debut last Friday, getting tagged for seven runs - five earned - and six hits over 1 2-3 innings in a 10-3 loss at Pittsburgh.
He started that game but more recently pitched in relief, surrendering two runs in one inning of a 10-5 loss at Washington on Monday.
|New York Mets|
|June 22, 2013||Lucas Duda||15-Day DL||Strained left intercostal|
|June 21, 2013||Jonathon Niese||15-Day DL||Partially torn left rotator cuff|
|June 20, 2013||Jonathon Niese||Day-to-Day||Left game - left shoulder discomfort|
|June 19, 2013||Scott Atchison||15-Day DL||Right groin strain|
|June 18, 2013||Scott Atchison||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore groin|
|June 17, 2013||Justin Turner||15-Day DL||Intercostal strain|
|July 02, 2013||Wily Peralta||Day-to-Day||Left game - left hamstring tightness|
|June 24, 2013||Alfredo Figaro||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|June 23, 2013||Carlos Gomez||Day-to-Day||Left game - left shoulder sprain|
|June 10, 2013||Ryan Braun||15-Day DL||Right thumb contusion|
|June 04, 2013||Marco Estrada||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|May 25, 2013||Jim Henderson||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Coming off a heartbreaking 15-inning loss one day earlier, the New York Mets got a much-needed offensive outburst from an unexpected source.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis drove in a career-best five runs, and Zack Wheeler allowed one earned run over five shaky innings to pace the Mets to a 12-5 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night.
"Tremendous night for Kirk Nieuwenhuis ," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "Absolutely tremendous night. He picked us up."
Nieuwenhuis, who entered the game hitting .179 in 56 at-bats after being recalled from Triple A Las Vegas on June 9, raised his average to .233 with his first four-hit game.
He had a triple, a double, two singles and two walks, becoming the first Mets player to reach base six times in a nine-inning game since Mike Piazza on May 27, 2000.
"I don't know if I have ever done it. It feels great," said Nieuwenhuis, whose 14th-inning homer tied Thursday's game against Arizona that the Mets lost in the 15th. "I have just been trying to stay more direct to the ball. Other than that, relaxing at the plate."
Wheeler (2-1) gave up three runs and seven hits and walked three. He struggled in his two previous starts since pitching six shutout innings in his major league debut.
"I am happy about my outing even though there were some low points," said Wheeler, who escaped a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the fifth. "You know throwing 20 pitches an inning and only going five, but I battled out there as best I could and got a good result."
Brewers starter Johnny Hellweg (0-2) allowed seven runs in 3 2-3 innings, but only three were earned. He also walked five. He was rocked for seven runs in 1 2-3 innings in his first major league start on June 28.
"There were better moments," said Hellweg, who was 6-0 with a 1.64 ERA in his last seven starts at Triple A Nashville before being called up. "I don't think I'd use the word good, but I did better than last time."
Carlos Gomez had four hits for the Brewers, including two RBI doubles, and robbed pinch-hitter Marlon Byrd of a home run in the seventh with a leaping grab above the center-field wall.
The Mets hustled their way to three unearned runs in the second inning for a 5-2 lead, despite hitting only one ball out of the infield.
Omar Quintanilla drew a leadoff walk and advanced on Wheeler's sacrifice bunt. Quintanilla moved to third, and Eric Young reached on an error by shortstop Jean Segura . Daniel Murphy 's high chopper back to the mound was gloved by the 6-foot-9 Hellweg, but Quintanilla dived back to third ahead of Hellweg's throw as Murphy reached to load the bases.
Ike Davis then drove in a run with a slow-rolling single to Segura, who had no play. After David Wright lined out to first, Nieuwenhuis grounded a two-run single to right, just past the glove of diving second baseman Rickie Weeks .
The Mets made it 7-2 in the fourth with the aid of another error. Wright walked to open the inning and came around on singles by Davis and Nieuwenhuis. Davis scored from third on a two-out error by third baseman Aramis Ramirez .
Nieuwenhuis accounted for another run in the sixth when he walked, stole second, took third on a wild pitch and came home on John Buck 's single. He doubled in the eighth and scored on Juan Lagares ' single to make it 9-4.
Nieuwenhuis tripled in another run in the Mets' three-run ninth.
Juan Francisco opened the fourth with his 11th home run to trim the Brewers' deficit to 7-3. Milwaukee scored single runs in the seventh and eighth on RBI doubles by Gomez and Logan Schafer .
"We sure didn't play well," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We didn't pitch well today, we didn't play well defensively today. We swung the bats OK. I messed up, too, on a play. So nothing went right."
Hellweg's wildness helped the Mets score twice in the first. Young singled to open the game and moved to third on Wright's one-out single to right. Hellweg then issued consecutive walks to Davis, who entered hitting .161, and Nieuwenhuis to force in a run. Wright scored on Lagares' fielder's choice.
"He has really good stuff, it's just a matter of getting ahead and throwing strikes," Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy said of Hellweg. "Sometimes it gets away from him. He gets behind in counts, and the next thing you know they put good swings on him. We didn't exactly make a lot of plays behind him."
Milwaukee answered with two unearned runs in the bottom of the inning on an RBI double by Gomez and a sacrifice fly by Ramirez.
NOTES: Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun , on the 15-day disabled list with an injured right thumb, took swings in the indoor cage Friday. "I haven't talked to him since he swung. I talked to (third base coach) Ed Sedar and he said he swung the bat real well. I just haven't asked Ryan how the hand felt," Roenicke said. Braun is scheduled to take batting practice on the field Saturday and Monday. When Braun is ready to be activated, he won't be sent on a rehab assignment, Roenicke said. ... Wheeler's two-out single to right in the third was his first major league hit. . Josh Edgin pitched the final 1 1-3 innings for his first save in two opportunities.