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Friday, August 15, 2014
Wheeler remains unbeaten since June 25

By Adam Rubin

NEW YORK -- Zack Wheeler wants to get more efficient with his pitch count. What he's providing now is pretty darn good, though.

Wheeler limited the Chicago Cubs to two runs on four hits and four walks and struck out 10 in 6 2/3 innings as the Mets won, 3-2, Friday at Citi Field. Wheeler, who tossed a career-high 120 pitches, improved to 5-0 with a 2.02 ERA in his past nine starts. Now 8-8, he reached .500 for the first time this season. He has not completed seven innings in any start during that unbeaten stretch, though.


Adam Hunger/USA TODAY SportsZack Wheeler is 5-0 in his past nine starts.


"Any pitcher, you want to get through seven -- at least -- if not deeper," Wheeler said. "It's unfortunate that my pitch count throughout the season has been high. That's something that I'm definitely going to look at during the offseason and try to figure something out."

On Friday, Wheeler was at 59 pitches and had produced five strikeouts through three innings. He ultimately got more efficient and came within one out of completing seven innings for the first time since tossing a three-hit shutout at Miami on June 19.

Terry Collins said ideally Wheeler would not have exceeded 115 pitches. But the manager let him have one more batter after he struck out the opening two Cubs in the seventh. Chris Coghlan then walked, prompting Collins to insert Vic Black for the final out of the frame.

"Obviously everybody knows my pitch count is always high," Wheeler said. "I always try to pitch to contact early, but sometimes I catch myself trying to do a little bit too much sequence-wise or just command-wise. Sometimes I catch myself throwing a lot of pitches at the beginning of the game."