Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 8/16/13
Zack Wheeler’s biggest “flaw” last night might have been trying to strike out too many batters reducing the probability he would be around long enough for the win. The Mets right-hander could have used one more inning. But who’s to quibble with a one-run performance over six innings that included a career-high 12 strikeouts? The combo of Wheeler’s dominance and Marlon Byrd stroking a two-run go-ahead double in the eighth helped the Mets snap their three-game skid with a 4-1 victory over the Padres at Petco Park. “Early I was keeping my pitch count pretty low but after the second or third inning I got a little carried away and I was trying to strike some people out and lost a little command of my fastball” said Wheeler who threw 115 pitches. “It didn’t help. My pitch count went up and I had to work a lot more.” A night after LaTroy Hawkins blew a two-run lead in the ninth against the Dodgers setting up a 12-inning loss the Mets got three shutout innings from the bullpen with rookie Gonzalez Germen pitching the eighth and ninth scoreless for his first major league save. Over his last two starts spanning 12 1/3 innings Wheeler has struck out 16 batters and walked one. Now Wheeler will have to prove he can do it at home: His next start is expected to come Tuesday against the Braves at Citi Field where he has pitched to a 6.20 ERA in four starts. On the road Wheeler has a 2.11 ERA in seven starts. “For a guy with his stuff and you don’t walk people you’re going to have success because you’re hard to hit” manager Terry Collins said. “I know he threw a lot of pitches tonight but it was very encouraging that he didn’t walk anybody.” The Mets (55-64) took control on Byrd’s double in the eighth against Luke Gregerson. On the play right fielder Chris Denorfia froze and watched the ball sail over his head. Mike Baxter started the rally with a pinch-hit walk. It was in this same ballpark last August that Baxter set a Mets record with five walks in a nine-inning game.
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