Sunday, August 10, 2014
Wheeler laments high pitch counts
By Adam Rubin
PHILADELPHIA -- Zack Wheeler has produced eight straight quality starts. Still, the 24-year-old right-hander came away displeased Sunday.
Wheeler had allowed only one hit -- a solo homer to Chase Utley -- through five innings.
He ultimately walked three batters and surrendered a two-run double to Domonic Brown in the sixth. Wheeler departed with a 6-3 lead after six innings in what became a 7-6 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Wheeler’s particular gripe with himself is his pitch count.
He tossed 112 pitches in six innings Sunday.
Among qualified pitchers, Wheeler has thrown 17.4 pitches per inning, matching the Cubs’ Edwin Jackson for the most in the National League.
By contrast, Clayton Kershaw throws an NL-fewest 13.8 pitches per inning, followed by Henderson Alvarez at 13.9, Tim Hudson at 14.2 and Adam Wainwright at 14.5.
“I pitched all right, but I wasn’t very happy with the overall way I pitched,” Wheeler said. “Walking guys when you’ve got a big lead is the last thing I want to do. It drove my pitch count up. I was going smooth there for a while and then I had to come out because my pitch count was high.
“That’s starting to get kind of old, coming out after the sixth. I’m going to have to change something up.”
Wheeler is 4-0 with a 1.93 ERA over his past eight starts. Although each has been a quality start, none has exceeded 6 2/3 innings.
“It’ been better than the beginning of the year, obviously,” Wheeler said. “There’s still a lot of room to improve. I think the main part is keeping my pitch count down. I’m being aggressive, but they’re fouling a lot of balls off.
“I think I just have to make my put-away pitches a little bit better -- but not try to make them too much better, because that’s when you start getting yourself in a little bit more trouble.”