SO, ZACK WHEELER, HOW’S IT FEEL TO BLOW AWAY YOUR FORMER TEAM?

By Sam Bush

The Phils Zack Wheeler allowed the Mets two runs on six hits and one walk, and he struck out four in seven innings to improve to 3-0 with a 2.81 ERA.

He spent eight years with the Mets and the Phils signed him to a five-year, $118 million contract in December.

“I’m not trying to prove anybody wrong,” Wheeler said. “Just go out there and just pitch my game and just try to get a win for us.

“But yeah, you’re facing your old team, you want to go out there and do well. There’s no way around it. It’s nothing personal against those guys. I enjoyed my time over there, made a lot of good friends. It was just fun competing against them.”

“A little weird, especially being with him all last year and then him signing with Philly,” Mets third baseman J.D. Davis said about facing Wheeler. “It was definitely weird. But he’s a little comfortable over there with what he got, so I think he’s happy.”

Wheeler’s strikeouts are down, but so is his pitch count. It has allowed him to pitch at least 5 2/3 innings in every start and seven innings twice.

“It’s kind of always been my thing, get ahead, stay ahead and just get quick outs so you can go deep in the games,” Wheeler said. “When I first came up in the big leagues, all the older guys were telling me you want to go seven innings or more, and so that kind of always stuck with me. That was always my goal. I didn’t have the best command early on in my career, so I had a lot of five- or six-inning games with 100 pitches. But I always go back to when I got hurt for those two years [in 2015-16]. I watched a lot of baseball. And I just watched the best pitchers in the game and how they competed, how they went about game plans, at-bats, that type of stuff. They’re always getting ahead, they get quick outs, and that’s how those aces always go deep in the games.”

The victory improved the Phillies to 8-9 as they embark on a four-city, 10-game road trip through Boston, Buffalo, Atlanta and Washington. It will be their first time on the road during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve seen other teams,” Wheeler said. “We’ve been a part of it, kind of. We’re going to have to be vigilant and just play it safe and just don’t do anything dumb. Just stay at the hotel, go to the ballpark, play, do our job. It’s pretty simple.”

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