What if it's just Zack Wheeler's turn to be the ace?
Will that be enough in this badbadin of the National League of the East?
We've seen strange occurrences in baseball.
The Mets enjoyed one of their most satisfying victories in this young 2019 season, a 9-0 loss to the rival Phillies at Citi Field that gave Brodie Van Wagenen the exclusive first-place finish in his ultra-competitive division. Between the 13th and the 10th, they opened this important country house with two consecutive victories over the crew of Bryce Harper, which threatens to self-destruct in the Phillies prior to Harper last year.
Harper, the $ 330 million man, followed the two strikeouts on Monday, the effort of an expulsion with two more K & # 39; s and a foul on former Nationals teammate Wilson Ramos. If he found any coverage tonight, he could thank Wheeler, who ventured with eight different Phillies batters a total of 11 times in seven shutout innings and, for bumps and giggles, supported his own cause with his first career home run, a solo shot. plus a double of two races for three best races driven by the staff.
"You want to put zeros every time," said Wheeler. "When you face someone in your division, you want to badign them and win these games because they are great."
"That's probably one of the best games we've seen him throw," Mickey Callaway said of his right-hander.
Wheeler reduced his season effectiveness to an undesirable level of 4.85, but that mainly reflects his second work shift, on April 7 at home to the Nationals, when he allowed seven runs and walked seven in 4 innings. In his last three starts, he has achieved a 2.25 ERA in 20 innings, has allowed five runs and 16 hits, walked six and struck out 24.
In short, the 28-year-old has begun to present his case that he can sustain his memorable surge of 2018. And, in turn, that the impending free agent deserves an extension of his own.
Jacob DeGrom, the most recent recipient of the Mets' money, resides on the disabled list after his right elbow "barked" last week, although he intends to return with a start Friday night against the Brewers. He led not only the Mets but all of baseball last season with his brilliant campaign that earned him the National League Cy Young Award.
Noah Syndergaard, the Mets' best pitcher in 2016, has struggled this season; currently has an effectiveness of 5.90.
DeGrom won the ace title in 2015, although he worked with a virtual co-pilot on Matt Harvey, who probably will not hear more pitches for the Mets.
It would be appropriate for the Mets, a tribute to Sandy Alderson a long time ago, the only sporadically successful vision of a team led by starting pitchers, if Wheeler took the reins this season, eight years after Alderson chose him as the return of the Giants. . for Carlos Beltrán.
"Now that he's been healthy, it's about timing his mechanics," Callaway said. "When he does that, he's electric and one of the best pitchers in baseball."
When asked if he had returned to the pristine mechanics that drove his change last year, Wheeler replied, "I'm very close."
His offensive prowess tonight, meanwhile, turned him into the best he had to be. With two outs in the second and runners in the first and second, he started the first pitch of Zach Eflin in the corner of right field for a double of two runs, breaking a scoreless draw. And in the fourth inning, he went to the opposite field in another first shot by Eflin, sending him by the wall in left center field for a 4-0 lead by the Mets. With an exit speed of 101.4 miles per hour, and having shattered the 100-mile-per-hour barrier as a pitcher this season, Wheeler became the first pitcher to join the "100/100 Club" this season.
"Pitching comes first," said Wheeler. "But we work hard on our punches and we take pride in it." We want to go there and do it well as a staff person. "
If he can lead that staff, be the man who gets the votes of Cy Young this year, that would be a great tribute to this prodigal of initial rotation.