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Zack Wheeler Deals In Debut, Mets Sweep Doubleheader


Jun 18, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher

Paul Maholm

(28) throws a pitch against the New York Mets in the third inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

After watching the Braves get beat down by Matt Harvey, we had to do it again in the nightcap as Zack Wheeler (and the Mets bullpen) did the same in his major league debut. It was a rough day for the Braves. There were collisions in the outfield, balls thrown away, and ugly relief pitching as the Mets won 6-1.

Wheeler didn’t look too hot immediately, and it took him a bit to really get in a groove, but he ended the day with six innings, four hits, 0 runs, five walks, and seven strikeouts. That’s pretty good for a major league debut.

On the other hand, Paul Maholm had another good start. He went seven full innings while allowing just two runs on nine hits. He also managed to strike out seven batters while walking none. That’s really all you should be asking your starter to do on any given day and Maholm went out there and did it. Unfortunately, his offense didn’t back him up, scoring just one run.

In fact, the team managed just seven hits and was a terrible 0-12 with runners in scoring position. It doesn’t really matter who you are playing, as if you hit like that, you probably aren’t going to win. The Braves also managed to leave 12 men on base.

It was also pretty ironic that Andrelton Simmons would have the best game at the plate after talking about his terrible plate discipline in my recap of the first game today. He was 2-3 with with two singles and two walks. The walks were extremely surprising for me and hopefully he can start to do that more often…oh who am I kidding, just enjoy the walks for today and don’t expect more of that in the near future.

The bullpen was weak for the first time in a good while, with the suspect this time being Anthony Varvaro. He threw just one inning and managed to let up four runs, on four hits and two walks. To be fair to Varvaro, only one run was earned because of some ugly defense (including BJ Upton simply not getting his glove down on a ball rolling to center after a passed pickoff attempt to second). With that said however, he still didn’t look very good.

It’s a bit annoying to lose a game so badly when your starting pitcher does so well but that’s just baseball. With the unusual five game series, the Braves still have a chance to win the set and knowing that Atlanta won’t have to face the elite talents of Harvey and Wheeler, I like the odds.

Just because the Braves lost twice to the Mets doesn’t mean the season is over, everyone. The Braves are still sitting with a large lead in the NL East and have the third best record in the league. Take it in stride and enjoy the great pitching we are seeing–and not just Atlanta’s.