Zach Wheeler has found a rhythm since the worst performance of his two-year career.
He surely would appreciate the New York Mets’ offense doing the same.
The Mets attempt to bounce back from another rough performance at the plate and provide some support for Wheeler on Wednesday against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Wheeler (5-8, 3.64 ERA) was tagged for six runs in two innings of an 8-5 loss to Oakland on June 25, but he’s rebounded with a 1.41 ERA and a 2-0 record in five starts since.
"I think I just found a good rhythm," Wheeler said. "I was able to repeat on the mechanics, and that’s really the biggest thing for me is just repeating everything and being able to try to get ahead of guys earlier in the count and try to keep them away a little bit faster.
"I’ve been able to repeat my mechanics. If it’s one or two pitches getting away, it’s not my mechanics anymore. It’s a matter of concentrating a little bit more, I think, and focusing in."
The right-hander seemed to do that Friday, allowing two runs – one earned – and three hits with nine strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings before Lucas Duda hit a two-run homer in the ninth of a 3-2 win at Milwaukee.
Wheeler, though, didn’t get any supporting runs for his second straight game, and he’s been backed by three or fewer in 16 of his 21 starts, going 1-8 despite a 3.86 ERA. That includes a 1.42 ERA without a decision over the last three such games, with New York losing two of them.
He got enough help at Philadelphia (47-60) on May 29, striking out nine while allowing one run in 6 1-3 innings of a 4-1 win.
The Mets (51-56) were blanked 6-0 on Tuesday with Chase Utley providing the big blow with his first grand slam since 2010. New York was shut out for the ninth time to surpass its total from all last year and has scored three runs or fewer in 10 of 11 games, batting .193 in that stretch.
Tuesday’s win was the fourth in six games for the Phillies, who have batted .291 during that span, 50 points higher than their season mark.
Grady Sizemore’s .314 average in 14 games since being recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley has been a pleasant surprise. His home run Tuesday was his first in a Phillies uniform and his first since April 11 with Boston.
"He’s really shown professionalism as a hitter," manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He’s been using the whole field and hitting for average and squaring balls up. I’ve been impressed."
Philadelphia sends Kyle Kendrick (5-10, 4.87) to the mound hoping he can win back-to-back starts for the second time this year. The right-hander earned a 9-5 win over Arizona on Friday, allowing three runs and six hits over 5 2-3 innings.
However, Kendrick failed to complete six innings for the fourth straight start, and he’s 2-2 with an 8.59 ERA over that stretch.
That was the case in his most recent visit to Citi Field on May 10, yielding four runs in 5 1-3 innings before the offense bailed him out by rallying for a 5-4 win.
He’s 0-1 with a 4.67 ERA over his last three starts against the Mets after going 4-0 with a 3.18 ERA in the previous four meetings.
Mets third baseman David Wright is 13 for 34 (.382) with three homers the past four seasons against Kendrick.