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Kershaw watches Zack work between starts

5/23/2014

NEW YORK -- Zack Wheeler's sophomore season has not gone as planned. He takes a 1-4 record and 4.53 ERA into Saturday's start against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Zack Wheeler

Zack Wheeler

#45 SP
New York Mets

2014 STATS

  • GM9
  • W1

  • L4

  • BB26

  • K46

  • ERA4.53

Still, Terry Collins received a high-profile request to watch Wheeler's bullpen session Thursday. Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw asked if he could observe, Marc Carig writes in Newsday.

Wheeler tells the newspaper about his slow start: "[Matt] Harvey set a huge standard, a high standard. A lot of people think everybody who comes up is just going to deal. But, I mean, it's not always like that, and people should know that. This is not an excuse for me. But everybody learns. Everybody has their troubles. Everybody has their high points and low points."

One problem, Wheeler explains, is his slider. In the minors, batters would chase it out of the zone. In the majors, if it starts on the outside corner and continues to veer away, batters don't swing because they know it's consistently going to end up outside the strike zone. And once that pitch can be eliminated, the remaining pitching repertoire becomes that much more hittable.

"It has no shot at being a strike," Wheeler tells Carig. "If it starts on the outside corner, they can see that spin."

Carig adds that Wheeler is in no immediate danger of a demotion, even though that fate befell Kansas City's highly touted third baseman Mike Moustakas -- which Wheeler knew.

"I know it's there because I'm human," Wheeler tells the newspaper. "I'm not a robot thinking it's never going to happen to me. It's there. But it's not messing with my mind."

UPDATE: Wheeler said Friday that Kershaw was throwing his own session in the adjacent bullpen. Wheeler was unaware if Kershaw watched.