(Sports Network) - Zack Wheeler will finally get a chance to flash his stuff
in front of a crowd at AT&T Park. However, the highly-regarded prospect will
be doing so in a New York Mets uniform looking to pitch his club to its first
three-game road sweep of the San Francisco Giants in 19 years.
Wheeler takes the hill for the Mets on Wednesday afternoon in the finale of
this series against the franchise that made him a first-round draft pick in
2009. He impressed the Giants enough as a hard-throwing high school prospect
out of Georgia that they took him sixth overall and built up enough of a
reputation in the minors that he landed the Giants established star outfielder
Carlos Beltran in a trade with the Mets on July 28, 2011.
The Giants knew they were hurting their future a bit by trading Wheeler and it
stung even more when Beltran signed as a free agent with the St. Louis
Cardinals following the season.
"It's going to be pretty cool to pitch against the organization I was drafted
by. It'll be fun," Wheeler told MLB.com.
"I definitely want to go out there and do well for myself and maybe show them
what they could have had, I guess," Wheeler said. "That would be fun."
After rising through the minors and getting named the sixth-best prospect in
baseball by MLB.com prior to this season, the 23-year-old is 2-1 with a 4.29
earned run average through his first four career starts, giving up four homers
and walking 13 to 16 strikeouts in 21 innings. Wheeler is coming off a win
over Milwaukee last Friday, when he allowed three runs -- one earned -- on
seven hits and three walks over five innings.
"I'm definitely happy about my outing," the right-hander said. "Even though
there were some low points -- falling behind, throwing 20 pitches an inning
and only going five -- I battled out there as best as I could, and got a good
Matt Cain did not have good results last time out for the Giants and will be
looking to bounce back yet again on Thursday.
Cain is 5-5 with a 4.85 ERA in 18 starts this season, but seemed to be turning
a corner with a five-start stretch from June 7-29 in which he went 1-1 but
with a 1.82 ERA.
However, the 28-year-old righty lasted just 2 1/3 innings versus the Los
Angeles Dodgers on Friday, charged with eight runs on six hits and four walks
in what was his shortest outing of the season.
Cain is 5-4 with a 3.61 ERA in 10 previous encounters with the Mets, who are
looking for their first sweep in San Francisco since July 4-6, 1994.
New York has won three in a row overall and followed up Monday's 16-inning
victory with a 10-6 triumph on Tuesday night. Marlon Byrd's seventh career
grand slam in the eighth inning broke open a close game, while Anthony Recker
added a two-run homer in the contest.
Scott Rice stranded a pair of runners in the seventh to earn the win behind
Dillon Gee, who struggled through 6 2/3 innings having allowed five runs on
nine hits and five walks.
"(Gee) got us deep into the game, which we needed to have," Mets manager Terry
Collins said after using six relievers in Monday's game. "It saved the rest of
our guys in the bullpen."
David Wright had two of New York's 12 hits to extend his hitting streak to 10
Giants starter Barry Zito was also lit up for five runs on seven hits and four
free passes in his six-inning start. The left-hander is winless in his last
seven outings for the defending World Series champions.
Pablo Sandoval had two RBI for San Francisco, which has dropped 13 of its last
15 to fall a season-high nine games under .500.
"Our issue has been scoring runs. Tonight we had some good at-bats and put
some runs on the board, but the pitching wasn't there," Giants manager Bruce
The Giants have fallen into last place in the NL West, 6 1/2 games behind
San Francisco split its eight matchups with the Mets last season.
The Sports Network