Terry Collins optimistic about Zack Wheeler's next start

Mets manager Terry Collins, right, looks over at Mets manager Terry Collins, right, looks over at starting pitcher Zack Wheeler in the dugout after taking Wheeler out of the game against the Washington Nationals during the fifth inning. (June 30, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

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The education of Zack Wheeler continues.

Mets manager Terry Collins didn't let the rookie sit too long on his poor performance in Sunday's Citi Field debut. Collins and pitching coach Dan Warthen watched the game again and went over some fine points with Wheeler on Monday.

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"Actually, he made some pretty good pitches," Collins said. "He just missed a couple locations on some balls that came back to hurt him. But his velocity actually at times was better than what I saw on our scoreboard. That was what we saw on the replay of the game. We've had discussions with Zack about some things today and we're pretty excited about four days from now to get him back out there."

Wheeler, who allowed five runs in 42/3 innings in a 13-2 loss to the Nationals in his third big-league start, will face the Brewers in Milwaukee on Friday. There will be more bratwurst but a lot less hoopla than Sunday's start, which drew the second-largest Citi Field crowd of the season (33,366).

"We're hoping he goes back out there in his next time out and throws the ball like we saw the first two times out," Collins said. "I know that he was all wrapped up in pitching good in his first home start. So hopefully, he relaxes in his next one and gets into a little bit of a groove where he's more comfortable."

Collins said he thinks Wheeler (1-1, 5.06 ERA) knows he has to make adjustments if he's going to be successful. The stuff clearly is there.

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"I think that he's realistic enough to know he's got the stuff to pitch here," he said. "He didn't make pitches and that's pretty much the general consensus of everybody that was involved . . . I expect him to be much better his next start."

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