Matt Harvey is the New York Mets ' young ace who receives most of the publicity, but Zack Wheeler is making sure no one forgets there's another up-and-coming pitcher to help guide the franchise into hopefully better days.
Wheeler looks to remain unbeaten on the road as he faces the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night.
Headlines regarding the Mets often involve Harvey, the 24-year-old who started the All-Star Game earlier this month in New York and is among the major league leaders with a 2.11 ERA.
Wheeler (4-1, 3.72 ERA) may not be receiving as much attention, but he's pitched nearly as well as Harvey lately. The prized rookie is 3-0 with a 2.78 ERA over his last four starts after giving up four runs - three earned - in six innings of Thursday's 7-4 win over Atlanta.
He had allowed nine runs in the two starts - both Mets losses - before this unbeaten run."I'm starting to feel a little bit more comfortable with my mechanics. I've just got to trust my stuff and go after guys," Wheeler said. "I've just got to get ahead and start setting guys up. It's a lot easier when you do that."
While the 23-year-old right-hander has had some success to begin his career, manager Terry Collins knows he isn't even close to a finished product despite opponents hitting only .114 off Wheeler with runners in scoring position."He's a work in progress, but I'll tell you one thing: The sky's the limit with him," Collins said. "He's got plus stuff. He's tougher than people give him credit for. He's going to be fine, but he's got to make some adjustments."
Wheeler hasn't faced Miami in his seven-start career, but he's 3-0 with a 2.31 ERA in four road outings. He'll look to improve that mark after the Mets (47-56) ended a five-game skid versus the Marlins with a come-from-behind 6-5 victory in Monday's series opener.
Daniel Murphy , hitting .483 with two homers and 11 RBIs over his last seven games, drove in three runs for New York, which was outscored 20-3 while dropping the final three of a four-game series with Washington over the weekend."(I'm) just seeing the ball a little bit better. I don't know, it's baseball," Murphy said. "Sometimes you get beat up and sometimes you don't."
Miami will look to bounce back with help from Nathan Eovaldi , who has allowed three runs or fewer six times in seven starts since coming off the disabled list June 18.
After giving up six runs in four innings of a 6-0 loss to Milwaukee on July 20, Eovaldi (2-1, 3.54) bounced back by allowing three hits in six scoreless frames of Miami's 5-3 win over Colorado on Thursday. He had his outing cut short, though, due to a 93-minute rain delay after just 78 pitches.
"It's disappointing since I was throwing so good, but (I'm) still pleased with the outing," Eovaldi said.
The right-hander made four starts versus the Mets last season, going 1-2 with a 3.74 ERA.
Murphy is 4 for 8 with two doubles off Eovaldi.
|New York Mets|
|July 26, 2013||Justin Turner||Day-to-Day||Sore right shoulder|
|July 25, 2013||Eric Young||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right knee|
|July 13, 2013||LaTroy Hawkins||Day-to-Day||Sore right triceps|
|July 09, 2013||Shaun Marcum||15-Day DL||Thoracic outlet syndrome|
|July 09, 2013||Shaun Marcum||15-Day DL||Thoracic outlet syndrome|
|June 22, 2013||Lucas Duda||15-Day DL||Strained left intercostal|
|July 26, 2013||Kevin Slowey||15-Day DL||Right forearm discomfort|
|July 23, 2013||Marcell Ozuna||15-Day DL||Torn left thumb ligament|
|June 25, 2013||Justin Ruggiano||Day-to-Day||Sore left shoulder|
|June 09, 2013||Chris Coghlan||15-Day DL||Right calf irritation|
|June 09, 2013||Casey Kotchman||60-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|May 27, 2013||Alex Sanabia||60-Day DL||Right groin discomfort|
MIAMI (AP) -- John Buck was one of three Mets who failed to come through with a runner on third base in the eighth - an inning punctuated by Marlins reliever Chad Qualls ' tumble that had his teammates laughing.
Buck didn't miss on his next chance, and no one was smiling in the Miami dugout.
The Mets catcher hit a tiebreaking two-run single with the bases loaded in the 10th inning, lifting New York to a 4-2 victory Tuesday night.
"When I came up I kind of had a similar situation with (Steve) Cishek, who is more funky, I said all right, just stick with that approach," Buck said. "He left it over the plate and I got the results I wanted this time."
The Mets threatened in the eighth when Marlon Byrd led off with a triple but Qualls struck out Ike Davis , got Buck to ground out and, two batters later, struck out Omar Quintanilla to end the inning.
Leaving the mound after the strike-three call against Quintanilla, Qualls punched the air in celebration as he headed toward the Marlins' dugout. But as he threw the punch, he snagged his right cleat in the infield grass, his own forward momentum sending him tumbling to the ground.
Qualls appeared uninjured. He bounced up quickly and continued to the dugout, where he covered his face in a towel and laughed with teammates.
"As soon as I saw the fist pump I put my head down," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "That's one of those if you win that game, you can watch it. But since we lost it's not quite as funny."
Zack Wheeler took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and Juan Lagares had three hits and two RBIs for the Mets.
Donovan Solano and Jake Marisnick had consecutive RBI singles after Ed Lucas got Miami's first hit with one out in the seventh to tie it 2-all.
"I did get a little rushed after that," Wheeler said. "I probably let down my guard just a little bit, but it's a learning experience."
Wheeler allowed two runs and three hits in seven innings. He struck out five and walked three while throwing 64 of his 87 pitches for strikes.
"That might have been as dominant of a performance through six innings that I've seen all year from anybody," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Scott Atchison (1-0) pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the victory and Bobby Parnell pitched the 10th for his 22nd save in 26 opportunities.
Cishek (3-6) allowed two runs and three hits in two innings. Cishek retired the Mets in order in the ninth before allowing back-to-back singles by David Wright and Marlon Byrd to begin the 10th.
Cishek then walked Davis to load the bases for Buck, who drove in Wright and Byrd with a base hit up the middle for a 4-2 lead.
Parnell walked one in the ninth before earning his second save in two days.
Wheeler, a 23-year old rookie making his eighth major league start, retired the first 11 batters he faced before walking Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth.
"I felt smooth throughout my mechanics, my rhythm was good, good tempo in between pitches, everything was just clicking well and I was hitting my spots," Wheeler said. "I did get away with a few mistakes tonight, but it happens. Sometimes you get away with them and sometimes you don't. Tonight was just one of those nights."
After a walk to Logan Morrison , Lucas broke up Wheeler's no-hit bid with a hard-hit one-out single to right in the seventh. Solano and Marisnick each singled in a run to tie it 2-2.
"I was just trying to put a good swing on a fastball," Lucas said. "He was pretty overpowering up to that point. I wasn't trying to do too much. I wasn't trying to hit a home run or anything. I was just trying to get on base."
Wheeler got Jeff Mathis to bounce into a double play to get out of the jam ending his night.
Wright led off the fourth with a double and Buck walked with two outs before Lagares tripled to right-center field to give the Mets a 2-0 lead.
Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi allowed two runs, four hits, and five walks in six innings. He struck out four.
"It was rough tonight," Eovaldi said. "I have to work ahead. My fastball command wasn't there. I was off the plate, just a rough one."
NOTES: Lagares is hitting .369 (24 of 65) with 13 RBIs in 21 games in July. ... Marlins LF Christian Yelich went 0-for-4 batting lead-off for the first time and is hitless in his last 15 at-bats. ... Miami reliever Steve Ames made his major league debut in the seventh. ... RHP Henderson Alvarez (1-1, 2.64 ERA) will start Wednesday's game for the Marlins against Mets RHP Jenrry Mejia (1-0, 0.00 ERA).