How Mets Phenom Zack Wheeler Can Learn from Rough Outing and from Chris Sale

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How Mets Phenom Zack Wheeler Can Learn from Rough Outing and from Chris Sale

Zack Wheeler and Chris Sale took the mound in a game that was supposed to be a pitchers' duel between the New York Mets and Chicago White Sox, but neither pitcher exactly put on a show.

The 23-year-old pitching phenom for the Mets made his second start of his young career on Tuesday night, but he couldn't follow up his six-shutout-innings performance in his first start.

Wheeler gave up four runs in less than six innings, including his first of his career in the first.

Wheeler was shelled by the White Sox, surrendering four earned runs on four hits and three walks, including a home run over 5.1 innings pitched. What's worse is that his pitch count soared again, reaching 109 pitches (43 balls) while retiring just 16 batters.

It's natural to see young pitchers struggle, just like Matt Harvey did when he started for the Mets.

Mets fans were quick to jump on Wheeler and begin to weep for the future of the franchise, but these things happen to young guns.

Wheeler has a lot to learn after his start on Tuesday, both from his own failures and from watching the ace across from him.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Sale was solid again on Tuesday. While he didn't shut the Mets down all night, he showed Wheeler how to work around problems and find ways to go deep in games, despite giving up three runs in five innings.

The reason why Sale went 2.3 innings longer than Wheeler, while throwing only one more pitch, was because he made all of his pitches count.

While Sale came right at the Mets lineup, Wheeler danced around the White Sox all night.

Wheeler struggled with his command again on Tuesday, walking three more batters to bring his total up to eight walks in two games.

He also showed that he can struggle wringing batters up himself, recording just one strikeout compared to Sale's 13.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

While both pitchers have great pitches and the ability to run through lineups, the confidence levels and approaches by the two couldn't be more different. Wheeler nibbled on the corners and missed 39.4 percent of the time, whereas Sale went ahead in the count early, consistently throwing first-pitch strikes.

Sale wasn't afraid of hitters, while Wheeler looked like he was at times. This was what allowed him to pitch deep into the game, and Wheeler needs to take note.

As long as he keeps coming from behind in pitch counts, he will struggle at times, and he must try to mimic Sale's approach in the future.

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