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Wheeler providing much-needed reliability

Righty has allowed three runs or fewer in seven consecutive starts
MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- Even with all the big names in their rotation to start the season, the most reliable starter for the Mets has been none other than Zack Wheeler, not Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey or Noah Syndergaard.

Wheeler threw seven strong innings in the Mets' 4-3 win over the Rangers on Wednesday night, allowing six hits and one run while striking out five. He has posted quality starts in three straight outings and five of his past six, and he's 3-1 with a 2.41 ERA in his last seven starts.

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ARLINGTON -- Even with all the big names in their rotation to start the season, the most reliable starter for the Mets has been none other than Zack Wheeler, not Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey or Noah Syndergaard.

Wheeler threw seven strong innings in the Mets' 4-3 win over the Rangers on Wednesday night, allowing six hits and one run while striking out five. He has posted quality starts in three straight outings and five of his past six, and he's 3-1 with a 2.41 ERA in his last seven starts.

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"I could not have imagined that [Wheeler] would be the most consistent," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "At the end of Spring Training, we were trying to decide does he start, does he not, is he going to pitch out of the bullpen, are we going to leave him in Florida, how are we going to save innings? And right now, he's as steady as we got."

Tweet from @Mets: .@WheelerPro45 reacts to his strong outing tonight. �� #MetsWIN pic.twitter.com/qlGogWvxyP

Instead of being left in Florida, Wheeler continued his strong start to 2017 by outdueling Rangers ace Yu Darvish at Globe Life Park. He gave up a run in the first inning after loading the bases with nobody out, but he escaped with minimal damage and got out of a few more jams over the course of his outing.

Wheeler induced a pair of double-play grounders, once to get out of that first inning, and another in the fifth to erase a walk to Delino DeShields.

Video: TEX@NYM: Wheeler gets out of trouble with a DP in 1st

"It was very impressive...He just settled down and got right back in the game, right back in the pitch count. ... I thought he really threw the ball well," Collins said. "This is the best I think he's thrown all year."

Wheeler has gone at least six innings in five of his past six starts, and he has won seven of his last eight road starts dating back to June 19, 2014. Lasting deep into games is something the Mets' pitching staff sorely needs, and he has been able to provide it.

"That's something you want to do. You want to make it to the seventh," Wheeler said. "I forgot who it was back when I first came up, somebody was like, 'You want to hear it during the seventh-inning stretch.' That's something that's always sort of stuck with me. I try to do that every outing. Sometimes I have trouble with my command or certain pitches aren't working, but that's my goal every time. I always try to get to at least the seventh, eighth, whatever."

Sam Butler is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas. He covered the Mets on Wednesday.

New York Mets