Zack Wheeler’s pattern of following a respectable start with a clunker continued Wednesday afternoon, but with the lineup the Mets put on the field it might not have mattered if the right-hander put seven innings of zeroes on the board.
In an all-around flat performance, as disgusting as the soggy conditions, the Mets lost 12-1 to the Blue Jays at Citi Field, failing in their latest attempt to win consecutive games for the first time since April 13.
That occurrence was actually Friday the 13th, and it’s been a horror show ever since for the Mets (20-19), who now prepare for three games against the NL West-leading Diamondbacks.
In maybe his ugliest outing of the season, Wheeler lasted only four-plus innings and surrendered six earned runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts and three walks.
Wheeler was sharp for the first three innings, but was never the same following an 18-minute delay in the third, as the grounds crew spread dirt on the soaked field in a downpour.
After returning to the mound in the fourth, Wheeler allowed a two-run homer to Teoscar Hernandez that put the Mets in a 3-0 hole. In the fifth, the Blue Jays scored three additional runs, ending Wheeler’s day at 81 pitches.
Wheeler (2-3, 5.92 ERA) has allowed at least four earned runs in three of his seven starts this season. His performance, along with that of veteran lefty Jason Vargas — who was skipped in the rotation this week because of his struggles — are significant causes of concern for the Mets.
If manager Mickey Callaway opts for a change, Seth Lugo is the most obvious candidate for the rotation during this stretch in which he has dominated as a multi-inning reliever.
Justin Smoak’s two-run double in the fifth gave the Blue Jays a 6-0 lead and all but guaranteed an early departure for Wheeler. After the pitcher J.A. Happ walked leading off the inning, Curtis Granderson doubled to deep right and Josh Donaldson delivered an RBI single. Smoak’s two-run double followed, and Wheeler was removed after walking Teoscar Hernandez.
Callaway’s lineup, which included Phillip Evans, Luis Guillorme and Jose Lobaton on a day Yoenis Cespedes was placed on the disabled list with a hip flexor strain, managed only two hits over seven innings against the lefty Happ.
Brandon Nimmo’s homer with two outs in the ninth produced the Mets’ only run.