CHICAGO -- Zack Wheeler described his second major league start with one word: “Bad.”
Wheeler surrendered four runs on four hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings in what became a no-decision in a 5-4 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.
New York Mets
“I didn’t throw a lot of strikes. And when I did, they were bad strikes,” said Wheeler, who threw 109 pitches. “The balls were up. The only thing I really had working for me was my curveball today. I’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
Pitching coach Dan Warthen all but said Wheeler was tipping his pitching, with different arm angles/speeds for the fastball and breaking stuff. Warthen will work with Wheeler before Sunday’s home debut against the Washington Nationals to try to remedy that issue.
“I haven’t seen him between starts,” Warthen said, alluding to Wheeler taking a detour to Triple-A Las Vegas between his major league debut and the White Sox outing. “And so in between starts we’ll look at the video. But, yeah, I thought it was pretty obvious that he had different arm angles for different pitches.”
Just as Matt Harvey relied on fastballs in his major league debut last year and then threw more secondary pitches in his second outing with the encouragement of the staff, Wheeler showed the same pattern.
Wheeler said one motivation, though, was that his curveball was working better than his fastball. Terry Collins agreed.
“John Buck told me he thought his curveball was a lot better than it was the other day,” Collins said. “But, as you can see, he got into a lot of deep counts. We’ve got to try to eliminate that.”
Collins also said Wheeler has to do a better job holding runners. The White Sox stole three bases against Wheeler and two of those runners scored.
"The slide step has got to be part of his repertoire with guys on," Collins said.
Said Wheeler: “Everybody goes over some bumps. Like I said, I’ve been struggling with my command lately. And you really can’t do that up here, so I have a lot of work to do.”
Wheeler said he is looking forward to remaining with the Mets now after his unorthodox schedule following last week’s debut.
“Yeah, definitely,” Wheeler said. “It will be nice just to settle down a little bit.”