Metspitcher Zach Wheeler (278835)
Credit: Contributed

When the Mets’ 2019 schedule was released, an early 13-game gauntlet, including a 10-game, 11-day road trip beginning on April 11, was glaring. The Mets would face the defending National League East champion Atlanta Braves four games, the rising Philadelphia Phillies three games, travel to St. Louis for a three-game set with the Cardinals, then return to Citi Field for another three-game series against the Phillies.

Ending 6-7 would have been considered respectable and averting disaster. Going 7-6 would be a positive lift. The Mets went into the final game of the 13 last night at home looking to achieve the latter. After splitting with the Braves and losing two out of three on the road to both the Phillies and Cardinals, the Mets defeated the Phillies 5-1 on Monday and 9-0 on Tuesday behind a stellar hitting and pitching performance by Zach Wheeler to go 6-6 over 12 games.

They were seeking a sweep leading the NL East with a record of 13-10, one game ahead of the 12-11 Phillies. They would open the game with shaky starter Jason Vargas on the mound. Prior to last night, Vargas has pitched in four games this season with three starts and has only totaled 10.1 innings. He has not lasted past the fifth inning in any of his starts and had an ugly ERA of 9.58.

On Tuesday Wheeler ensured the Mets would come away with a series win versus the Phillies regardless of how Vargas fared. He hit his first major league home run, added a double, had three RBI and struck out 11 batters in seven innings to raise his record to 2-2. Surprisingly, the Mets have been one of the best hitting teams in the National League thus far.

They began Wednesday third overall with a collective batting average of .262, an on-base percentage of .346 and slugging percentage of .780.