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Sunday, May 18, 2014
Zack: 'I need to hurry up and turn it around'

By Adam Rubin

WASHINGTON -- Zack Wheeler knows he needs to pick up his pitching. And quickly.

"It's been a bunch of bad starts in a row here," Wheeler said after allowing five runs (three earned) in six innings as the Mets lost to the Washington Nationals, 6-3, Sunday. "I need to hurry up and turn it around and get back on the right track."

Wheeler has allowed 17 runs (12 earned) in 20 1/3 innings over his past four starts. And that's including tossing six scoreless innings at Miami on May 7.

"Obviously, guys are starting to figure me out a little bit and see what I have and stuff," Wheeler said. "I was thinking after I came out I might be a little bit predictable right now -- fastball in fastball counts and stuff like that. Maybe I'll start thinking a little bit more, but not too much obviously -- not trying to trick guys, but keeping them off-balance a little bit more."

Wheeler said the pitch he lamented was the second-inning offering Ian Desmond turned around for a game-tying solo homer. Wheeler said you can pitch Desmond up and in, but if you miss, you can get burned because Desmond's wheelhouse is low-and-in pitches. Wheeler added that he thought he did a good job on location with Wilson Ramos, who delivered a two-run double and a two-run single.

"I felt great. Probably the best I felt all year," Wheeler said. "The balls were inside [to Ramos], but I guess not inside enough. The one to Desmond I left over the plate a little bit. Ramos, he just did a good job. I came back here and looked at the video and they were in, on the corner. He just did a nice job of hitting. He got me today. ... With Desmond, we talked about it before the game. His swing is down and in. And that's where I threw it. I wanted it up a little bit more, because you can get him in, up. I just made that mistake of keeping it down with him."