Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
Mets RHP Zack Wheeler has allowed 17 runs in 20 innings during his last four starts.
“It’s been a bunch of bad starts in a row here,” Wheeler said Sunday evening. “I need to hurry up and turn it around and get back on the right track.”
SNY analyst Jim Duquette later suggested on air that Wheeler may benefit from pitching in Triple-A after Dillon Gee returns from the disabled list, which was parroted by some fans on social media.
“The panic surrounding Wheeler right now is astounding,” the Wall Street Journal’s Jared Diamond wrote to concerned Mets fans (Twitter, May 19). “Seriously, relax. The dude has given up 142 hits in 149.2 IP. He’ll be fine.”
In the small, micro-level, only-about-the-player point of view, I know Diamond is right. However, when I think about Wheeler’s struggles in the larger context, the one coming from the team about how the future is all about their “pitching prospects,” I totally freak out. Matt Harvey set a ridiculous precedent by being so awesome so fast. That is not typical.
Typical is Wheeler, struggling a bit and learning, before responding and finding a rhythm. I know this is true. However, rational thought turns to panic because of quotes like this one from Harvey (NY Post, May 20):
“It’s exciting to see what the future holds, and obviously I’m appreciative of that and enjoying all these guys and being able to watch and being able to see what they can do and what they can contribute to winning. That’s what it all comes down to, winning games. Going to the postseason, that is what we’re about here, and it’s going to be a great group.”
I love this as a concept. It sounds great. I buy it hook, line and sinker. Of course, I feel like I’ve bought it before. And, I don’t want to be mislead, I don’t want to see yet another crop of prospects fizzle, despite towering hype, only to mean rebuilding again. It’s the worst-case scenario. Is it irrational? Yes. Is it short-sighted? Of course. Is it a real fear, which I don’t expect reporter to understand? Absolutely.