Wheeler isn't going to sustain that obviously but it doesn't mean he's due to have a bunch of ugly outings to "even things out", either: that's gambler's fallacy.
For whatever it's worth, ZiPS rest of season thinks he'll post a 3.59 ERA while Steamer says 3.71. His overall ERA, FIP, and xFIP all hover around 3.50 on the season, so that seems pretty fair. But I'm not as interested in the actual results more than I am the underlying numbers the rest of the way (surprise surprise!); the walk issues aren't suddenly going to vanish but hopefully he keeps missing bats at a near-batter-per-inning pace with a groundball for about every 2 balls in play. I'll be very pleased with his progress this year and excited for what he can do next year if he can finish strong like that.
I didn't say a bunch of ugly outings. But it wouldn't surprise me if he has a few soon where things go the other way, where he's allowing 3 or 4 runs as opposed to 1 or 2. Again, I'm not saying a 1.59 ERA is supposed to be sustainable, or to imply that if Zack doesn't keep that up that it's going to be some major failure on his part. Is Zack showing signs of improvement, both in the readily available numbers and in the more underlying numbers? For the most part, yes he is, and I think we're all pretty happy with that. For me, it's more about people seeing the 1.59 ERA (the one stat that doesn't really fit during this run) and thinking that Zack has become this dominant pitcher seemingly overnight. Clearly that hasn't really happened yet...even the eye test confirms that. As Gary and Ron said on air last night, he still throws too many pitches and makes life harder on himself than it needs to be...but on the flip side, considering his issues, I do find it encouraging that he's pitched 6+ IP in seven straight starts...for a guy who's clearly prone to laboring, not being terribly efficient and is still a work in progress, the IP is a feat that should not be minimized.
As far as results go, it's hard to argue them...even with the Oakland disaster factored in, in seven out of his last nine starts, he's allowed 1 ER or less. Back on June 14, for Zack to have a run like he's on now seemed like the wildest of pipe dreams at best. And yeah, in what was clearly another punt year for Sandy and Co., Zack has shown development in 2014, and 2015 should be a potentially consistent and strong year for him.
Wow for Montero...check out his last two outings:
14.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 17 K
I forget where I heard it, but Frank Viola said something to the effect that Montero's mixed results in the PCL and with the Mets this season had hurt his confidence and had caused him to become a tentative nibbler (one of many reasons why I hope the Vegas thing is short-lived). Viola basically told him to believe in his stuff and to throw strikes. He's now only walked 5 hitters and allowed 10 hits (one HR) in his last three starts (19.2 IP), and struck out 23. Great to see Syndergaard, Montero, and Verrett (all of whom have had their frustrating moments this year) pitching well as of late.
And the ironic thing is, as lost and off as Montero has looked at times this season, his PCL numbers are actually pretty good:
74 IP, 58 H, 27 ER, 4 HR, 32 BB, 75 K, 1.22 WHIP, 3.28 ERA
Looks like the next wave of young arms is making progress too...both Tyler Pill and Steven Matz have been pitching pretty well in AA. Matz had a nice bounce-back outing after his worst AA start. Pill is a little up there for AA (24 years old, will be 25 next May), but he was drafted out of college (4th round in 2011). Overage Greg Peavey (just turned 26) has put up nice numbers in AA, but completely bombed when he was promoted to Vegas earlier and was demoted back to Binghamton. Probably a good chance all three are pitching in Vegas next season, with Matz having the most upside as far as getting to the majors is concerned.
Edited by Colorado Rockies 1976, 06 August 2014 - 06:55 AM.