Zack Wheeler pulled a Matt Harvey on Thursday night and took a tough loss. He pitched well, up until a home run was given up to Carlos Peguero in the fifth inning, in hitter-friendly Las Vegas. He then settled back in to retire the next two batters to end the inning. In the sixth inning, he proceeded to strike out the next two batters, and then rising star Jack Leathersich was brought in. At only 85 pitches, it seemed odd, but that ended Wheeler’s day having pitched a great game with only one hit, one run, and seven strikeouts through 5 2/3 innings.
Leathersich came on to end the inning by recording a strikeout. Staying in the next inning, he hit the first batter, and then went right on to retire the next two. Gonzalez Germen came out of the pen to face the next batter and gave up a double to bring on Leathersich’s first earned run of his career in Vegas, and it was all downhill from there
The bright sides of the day, aside from a hit batsman and home run (literally two mistakes over 6 2/3 innings) were that Wheeler and Leathersich combined to pitch brilliantly. In addition, Wilmer Flores continued to hit, going one-for-three and maintaining a .315 average.
The bad part is that the good news stopped there for Las Vegas. Pinch-hit master Mike Baxter did get a hit – he went one-for-four-, but Andrew Brown and Ike Davis combined for a 0-7 on the day. The 51’s couldn’t get anything going offensively.
Rob Carson and Gonzalez Germen gave up a combined 9 runs, along with the one run that Germen gave up that technically counts as Leathersich’s run.
Wheeler continued to pitch well as his promotion looms just days away, and Leathersich really did continue to improve as he faces new challenges (even though he took a tough luck earned run in the seventh inning).
Keep Flores and Leathersich in the back of your minds as we approach the later stages of the season.
Photo Courtesy: Michael Baron