Wheeler's great start goes unrewarded

September 1st, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO -- For most of the past two months, Zack Wheeler has pitched as well as, if not better than, . The Mets are even beginning to offer him similar levels of support.

Walking a razor's edge Friday for the third consecutive start, Wheeler allowed one run in seven innings of a 7-0 loss to the Giants. The Mets have given Wheeler four total runs of support in his last three outings, dropping him on Friday to his first defeat since June 22.

"They've both been going out there every five days and giving us a chance to win," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said of Wheeler and deGrom. "And we haven't always capitalized on that."

Dominant throughout the game's first six innings, Wheeler retired six consecutive batters at one early juncture and seven in a row at another, guiding the Mets into a scoreless tie in the seventh. led off that inning with a double down the right-field line, moved to third base on 's groundout and scored on Chris Shaw's sacrifice fly.

It may not have been much, but it was enough to topple Wheeler, who entered the night 7-0 with a 1.88 ERA in his previous 11 starts. Since the All-Star break, Pittsburgh's is the only qualified pitcher in the Majors with a better ERA than Wheeler's 1.19 mark.

"That's the plan every time. It's just been happening," Wheeler said. "I've been able to go out there and really get it done. I'm happy about it and I'm going in the right direction."

The Mets' offense, however, is not. After Jeff McNeil doubled off Giants starter in the first inning, the Mets did not put another runner on base until McNeil was hit by a pitch to lead off the seventh. Suarez completed seven innings, and the Giants eliminated any remaining drama with a six-run rally off , Daniel Zamora and in the eighth.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

Sick (by the) bay: Pitching for the first time in a week, Gsellman, who lost several pounds due to a recent bout of strep throat, could not record an out in the eighth. led off the inning with a homer off Gsellman, who also served up a double off the right-field wall before departing.

Zamora entered and, after striking out the first two batters he faced, walked and allowed Belt's two-run triple. Then Smith allowed all four batters he faced to reach base, turning a close game into a blowout.

"They're just throwing balls down the middle, and a tad up," Callaway said of his bullpen. "They all have really good stuff and they're still learning to use it well. When you make mistakes, big league hitters make you pay, and we've been making a lot of mistakes lately."

SOUND SMART

Finishing 3-for-29 against Suarez and a pair of left-handed relievers, the Mets dropped their season average against lefties to .224 -- the lowest mark in the National League, and second-lowest in the Majors.

"It's kind of been that way all year," Callaway said. "It's something we definitely need to address."

HE SAID IT

"I think it's just consistency mechanically, just trusting my stuff and going right after guys. It's staying in the game and being healthy, for the most part." -- Wheeler, on his run of success

FROM THE TRAINER'S ROOM

Mets shortstop was out of the starting lineup after undergoing an emergency root canal earlier in the day. The team expects him to be available Saturday.

SEPTEMBER CALLUPS

The Mets announced that relievers and Tim Peterson will join the team Saturday, when rosters expand. Peterson spent time with the Mets earlier this season but Hanhold, whom the team acquired in the trade last August, will be making his big league debut.

The Mets will wait until the Minor League season ends before making additional callups, including first baseman .

UP NEXT

The Mets hope turned a corner last time out, when he delivered arguably his best start of the season in a loss to the Nationals. They'll find out Saturday, when Matz returns to the mound for a 4:05 p.m. ET game at AT&T Park. Left-hander is scheduled to start for the Giants.