Game recap July 9: The Enigma

Mets 4, Phillies 3

During any given start, Zack Wheeler can look like the ace many projected him to be once upon a time.

The problem though is that during any given start, Zack Wheeler can also look like a backend starter that should be moved to the bullpen.

The 6’4 right-hander is an enigma, as his performance out on the mound has never reached the level his stuff suggested it would. Wheeler will flash two plus offerings, including a heater that can reach 99 mph, but his command’s shaky and his health has been a major problem throughout his career.

It was a rough outing for the 28-year-old in the first game of Monday’s doubleheader, as he allowed seven hits and walked three more Phillies in his 4.2 innings of work. The Phils scored all three of their runs in the game off of Wheeler, which technically means the bullpen did its job!

Seth Lugo was shaky himself, as he walked four in almost three innings of work. Despite the walks, Lugo only allowed one hit and struck out three. There’s an argument to be made, a good one in fact, that Lugo should be in the rotation, but the Mets seemingly disagree. Lugo’s likely the Mets’ third-best starter at this point behind Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, but has been relegated to swingman duty in a porous bullpen.

Two of the Mets’ three best hitters this season were the main source of the offense on the afternoon. Assuredly, no one had Asdrubal Cabrera, Jose Bautista and Brandon Nimmo down as the Mets’ best players at the midway point in the season, but here we are.

Cabrera got the scoring started for the Mets with a solo shot to tie the game in the home half of the first. Bautista then tied the game up at two apiece in the third with an RBI single that brought home Nimmo. A Cabrera double off the fence in right-center brought home Bautista to give the Mets their first lead of the afternoon.

Philadelphia tied the game with a Maikel Franco homer in their next turn at-bat and held the Mets bats scoreless until the bottom of the 10th.

Walkoff Wilmer struck again though, as the fan favorite launched a ball over the fence in left to put this one in the books. The win ensured at least a split in the doubleheader and gave the Mets their 36th win of the season.

Phillies 3, Mets 1

While Wheeler has flashed potential at the Major League level, thereby giving him an increasing number of chances at success, the same cannot be said for Corey Oswalt. Until Monday night that is, as Oswalt tossed his best game as Met, turning in a much-needed quality start for a team with a depleted bullpen.

Oswalt was on cruise control until the fifth, when he lost his perfect game (ha) and walked the bases loaded. In stepped Aaron Nola, the Phillies starter, who had just two hits in 34 prior at-bats. As luck would have it, Nola picked up hit No. 3 on the season and it was a good one, a line drive double down the chalk in right that cleared the bases and put the Phils ahead for good.

Both teams had just two hits on the evening, but Mets pitchers issued four free passes compared to Philadelphia’s two. Walkoff Wilmer came up again in the ninth and brought home the Mets only run of the evening on a double to center.

After Michael Conforto drew a walk to bring the winning run to the plate with two out, Gabe Kapler decided to bring in Victor Arano to face Devin Mesoraco. The move paid off, as Arano struck Mesoraco out swinging to end the ballgame.

The day didn’t go by without a questionable decision from the manager, who this time brought in Jerry Blevins before Odubel Herrera was officially announced as a pinch-hitter. This allowed Kapler to bring in a right-handed hitter instead of the left-handed hitting Herrera. Callaway was asked about the mistake after the game and instead insisted it was a well-executed plan to dare Kapler into sending Herrera out to face Blevins.

In other news, Drew Gagnon will make his first major league start tonight when he faces off against Enyel De Los Santos, who is also making his first major league start, in the rubber game.

 Photo credit: Adam Hunger – USA Today Sports

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