Zack Wheeler took the hill this afternoon for the first time after a brief stint on the disabled list due to inflammation in the AC Joint of his throwing shoulder. He received a cortisone shot, and missed his scheduled start this past Saturday.
Wheeler looked a tad rusty from the get-go. He didn’t have great command over his pitches, and in fact, he missed the strike zone wildly a couple of times. He got hit hard throughout his five innings of work, and ended up giving up two home runs and a triple that narrowly missed being a third home run.
The two strike outs that Wheeler got in today’s game was his lowest total of the season (opening day he had three). It was promising to see that even though he didn’t have great command, he only walked two batters. Wheeler gave up three runs on five hits, two of which, as I stated earlier, were home runs. It should be noted that the ball was flying out of the park in Iowa today, and through the sixth inning (when I am writing this), there have been a total of six home runs hit between the two teams.
The 51s would go on to win the game by the score of 9-4 and Wheeler was actually credited with the victory. As noted above, balls were flying out the stadium, as Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Francisco Pena, and Collin Cowgill each went deep in the win.
Coming on the heels of what Sandy Alderson said about Wheeler needing about two or three more solid outings before he will be promoted, today’s start was a disappointing one. The good news is, it looked as though he was pitching without pain, and was clocked at 96 mph with his fastball. This outing seemed to be nothing more than Wheeler experiencing a little lag from not pitching in over a week, and I look for him to get back on track with his next start.