video thumbnail

NYM@ATL: Wheeler allows one run, four hits over 6 1/3

Right-hander Zack Wheeler will get the ball for the Mets on Sunday afternoon when they wrap up their series with the Rangers, but which Zack Wheeler shows up often depends on how much rest he's had.

Opponents usually face a phenom when Wheeler, 24, is working on regular rest. In nine games coming off four days, he has a 2.24 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. But when he has an extra day off -- as he does entering Sunday -- those numbers balloon to 7.45 ERA and 1.86, with opponents hitting .325.

The majority of the Rangers have never faced either Wheeler, and their starter, Nick Tepesch, has never pitched against the Mets.

In fact, both teams have only one player who has faced the opposing starter. The Mets' Chris Young is 1-for-3 against Tepesch, and the Rangers' Alex Rios is 0-for-3 against Wheeler.

Wheeler had a pair of good outings that sandwiched his worst. Coming off a three-hit shutout against the Marlins on June 19, he was crushed in a two-inning outing against Oakland his next time out. His most recent start was somewhere in the middle, as he went 6 1/3 innings and gave up only one run.

Tepesch has similar experience, though without the extremes. He had 6 1/3-inning and 7 1/3-inning scoreless appearances on June 13 and 27, respectively, with a five-inning, four-run outing in between.

"That is what you want to see happen -- get better with each outing and learn something from your previous outing," Tepesch said. "I think it is being aggressive and trying not to do things I normally don't do. I'm sticking to my strengths."

Rangers: Washington impressed with Feliz
Neftali Feliz made his first Major League appearance since Sept. 20, 2013, on Friday and pitched two scoreless innings despite walking the first two batters he faced.

"He was awesome," manager Ron Washington said. "He was able to adjust his arm slot and get the ball down. The ball was coming out nice and easy, it was just up in the zone. He adjusted his arm slot and started getting the ball down.

"He did what needed to be done. He came out and was in an attack mode. He walked two guys, but it wasn't because he wasn't attacking the zone."

Feliz's velocity is not what it was when he was the Rangers' closer in 2010 and 2011 -- before he underwent Tommy John surgery -- but the Rangers aren't concerned, because he can still locate his fastball, and it still shows movement.

"It is all about location and hitting your spots," Washington said. "It's still in Neftali. You may not see it like you used to, but he still has to figure it out and get outs."

Mets: Gee roster decision looming
Opening Day starter Dillon Gee, who has been on the disabled list with a strained right lat since May 11, is close to returning.

The 28-year-old right-hander tossed six innings of one-run ball on Friday for short-season Class A Brooklyn and will throw a bullpen session in New York on Sunday before the Mets decide the next move.

"There could be a reason [to hold him back until after the All-Star break], for sure," manager Terry Collins said. "You might want him to throw some more. [On Sunday] we'll make the decision about when he's going to pitch. He could pitch next week here, it could be trying to get to 100 pitches someplace else."

If Gee does return to the Majors, the Mets will need to decide whose place on the roster he'll take. Daisuke Matsuzaka is the likely candidate to lose his spot, so the Mets could choose to send Matsuzaka to the Minors or move him to the bullpen.

Worth noting
• Rios is hitting .351 in day games, second highest in the American League. Adrian Beltre is sixth, with a .329 average.

• Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud has reached base safely in all 10 games since returning from Triple-A.

MLB.com Comments