Morning Briefing: Wheels up!



FIRST PITCH: Now that Zack Wheeler can beat anyone, can he beat the Atlanta Braves?

The New York Mets right-hander had three wins over his hometown team last season. He doesn't yet have any this year.

That's not entirely his fault. He pitched well against the Braves each of the last two times out, but got little help from his offense in either game.

Perhaps the somewhat-revived Mets offense -- hey, they scored 11 runs just a few days ago -- can help Wheeler (9-8, 3.48) when he faces the Braves again on Wednesday night at Citi Field.

Then again, he's matched up against right-hander Julio Teheran (12-9, 2.96), who is coming off six scoreless innings against the Cincinnati Reds.

Wheeler gave up four runs to the Oakland Athletics in his last start, but since a June 30 start in Atlanta, he's 6-0 with a 2.12 ERA.

Now, can he beat the Braves?

Wednesday's news reports:

• The Mets beat the Braves Tuesday night, and they did it without David Wright or Daniel Murphy, and with Vic Black and Josh Edgin unavailable. The key guy they did have in the lineup was Juan Lagares, who made another nice catch and also hit another home run. Read game stories in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star Ledger, Record and MLB.com.

• Wright is out because of muscle spasms in his neck, but he finally admitted Tuesday that his left shoulder is an issue. What he wouldn't admit is that it's been a factor in his lousy play, and what the Mets said they won't do is shut him down because of it. Read more in the Post, Star Ledger and MLB.com.

• Will you see Noah Syndergaard in September? Sandy Alderson suggested Tuesday that a lack of spots on the 40-man roster could keep Syndergaard out of the big leagues this season. But Alderson also suggested that Syndergaard could benefit from a month in the big leagues, so the issue remains undecided. Read more in the Post, Newsday, Record and Star Ledger. Meanwhile, Tim Rohan wonders in the Times if Matt Reynolds can be the next Mets shortstop.

• Tuesday's win gave the Mets a 62-70 record, which means that Alderson's 90-win spring training challenge is technically alive for a few more days. But columnist Joel Sherman in the Post sees a much bigger issue, the question of whether the Mets have fallen into a cycle of 74-77 win seasons that they don't have the ability -- or the strong will -- to break out of.

• It's pretty much accepted now that the best thing that happened to Travis d'Arnaud this season was the Mets' decision to send him to Triple-A Las Vegas, and how he reacted to it. Now, d'Arnaud's father tells columnist Kevin Kernan of the Post pretty much the same thing, and says he told it to Travis at the time.

BIRTHDAYS: Mike Maddux, best known as the brother of Greg but also as a 1993-94 Met, turns 53 . . . Brian McRae is 47.


YOU'RE UP: Is it important that the Mets see Noah Syndergaard this season?