The Mets decided against trading one of their best trade chips before the July 31 deadline, insisting Zack Wheeler’s improved performance was for real and he’d be a key cog in 2019.
Other organizations reportedly worried the velocity gains weren’t for real and that he would soon regress back to his normal self, but the Mets were confident this new Wheeler was for real. For another night, at least, he was, tossing seven shutout innings Saturday and striking out nine Braves en route to a 3-0 victory.
The offense racked up nine hits against Kevin Gausman, who made his debut for Atlanta after coming over via trade with the Baltimore Orioles mere minutes before the 4 p.m. deadline. He allowed all three of the Met runs on the evening, exiting after five innings of three-run ball.
New friend Jeff McNeil was perfect at the dish Saturday as he picked up four hits in his four at-bats. McNeil should’ve been up a while ago, but it’s nice to see him enjoy some immediate success in the big leagues.
Michael Conforto has looked a lot better at the plate as of late and added two hits in his four at-bats Saturday. The Mets rushed him back from offseason shoulder surgery to get his bat in the lineup, but he’s finally looked healthy and its showed in his performance. Regardless of offseason additions, this team very well could put up a fight with a healthy Conforto alongside Brandon Nimmo in the 2019 lineup.
The newly acquired Bobby Wahl wasn’t sharp but didn’t allow a run in his second appearance with the Mets. Robert Gsellman, who’s been used quite frequently thus far, made his second appearance of the series, securing four outs for the save on the evening. It’d be nice if John Ricco and Mickey Callaway followed through on their promise to examine the young talent on the roster instead of overworking veteran relievers who figure to be a key part of the 2019 roster.
Photo credit: Andy Marlin – USA Today Sports