The Toronto Blue Jays conclude about the shortest road trip possible, two games, with another interleague MLB matchup at the New York Mets on Wednesday afternoon.
The Mets start 27-year-old right-hander Zack Wheeler on Wednesday. He looked like one of the most promising young pitchers in baseball in 2014 when he was 11-11 with a 3.54 ERA and 187 strikeouts in 185.1 innings over 32 starts. He hasn’t come close to 32 big-league starts since as injuries – including Tommy John surgery – have wrecked Wheeler’s career. He finally returned last year and was not very good with a 3-7 record and 5.21 ERA in 17 starts.
This year, more of the same with a 2-2 record, 5.03 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in six starts. He does come off a strong outing in Cincinnati last Wednesday, allowing one run and four hits over six in a no-decision. Wheeler has been much worse at home (8.25 ERA) than the road (3.27) this year, but also much better during the day (2.45 ERA) than at night (6.26)
Toronto lefty J.A. Happ (4-3, 4.80) comes off his worst start of the season, which saw his ERA rise more than a run. Happ was blasted last Thursday at home by Seattle, one of his former teams, surrendering seven runs and 10 hits, two homers, in 3.1 innings. The big blow was a Kyle Seager first-inning grand slam. Happ hadn’t allowed more than four earned in any other 2018 start. The Blue Jays are 6-2 in his past eight interleague starts.
Toronto Blue Jays
Another reminder that Toronto will be without the designated hitter, usually Kendrys Morales, for this interleague matchup in the NL park. Also, because it’s an early start time (1:10 p.m. ET) after a night game, a regular or two on each side could get the day off. Managers often will do that if the team isn’t off the following day. Toronto isn’t as it hosts Oakland to start another seven-game homestand on Thursday. The Mets, though, are off Thursday. Just a few Blue Jays have faced Wheeler in a regular-season game. Josh Donaldson is 1-for-2 with a strikeout and Yangervis Solarte 1-for-1 with a walk. New York is just 4-10 in Wheeler’s past 14 at home overall.
New York Mets
Happ has spent a fair amount of time in the National League in his career and has made 10 appearances against the Mets, eight of them starts. He is 3-2 with a 4.41 ERA. Yoenis Cespedes has seen him the most and is 5-for-22 with two doubles, a homer and five RBIs. Jay Bruce is 3-for-15 with a homer and eight strikeouts. Asdrubal Cabrera is 2-for-9 with a double. Happ will face a Mets offence that has been in a funk for weeks. It entered Tuesday’s game having scored three runs or fewer 16 times in the last 25 games. New York is near the bottom of MLB in runs, batting average, slugging and homers. The Sports Interaction game total has gone under in seven straight Mets games at home vs. a left-hander (entering Tuesday).