Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler pitches during the first inning against the Phillies on Sept. 17, 2018, at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.

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Mets May Shut Down Wheeler After Strong Start Vs. Phillies

September 18, 2018 - 8:48 am
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- If this was it for Zack Wheeler, he finished strong and - probably most importantly -- healthy.

Wheeler pitched seven solid innings for his career-best 12th win in what may have been his final start of the season, Michael Conforto had a career-high six RBIs and the New York Mets beat the fading Philadelphia Phillies 9-4 on Monday night.

Wheeler (12-7) allowed four runs and three hits to become the first Mets pitcher since Steve Trachsel in 2001 to record nine wins after the All-Star Game. Since the break, the right-hander is 9-1 with a 1.68 ERA in 11 starts.

"Probably the best pitcher in baseball the last 1½ months," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said.

New York was eliminated from playoff contention Monday night when St. Louis beat Atlanta. Callaway wants to be cautious with Wheeler and said he would discuss with Mets management whether he makes another start.

The right-hander is three innings shy of his career high, the 185 1/3 he threw in 2014 before injuries halted his promising career. Wheeler didn't pitch at all in the majors in 2015 or 2016 following Tommy John surgery, and was limited to 86 1/3 innings last season due to a stress reaction in his pitching arm.

"We want to make sure we're taking care of the player," Callaway said.

Wheeler, who opened the season in the minors, is relieved to be pitching and feeling so well.

"It's been smooth sailing for the most part this year," he said.

Asked if he wanted to continue to pitch, Wheeler said, "Still feeling good. It's not my call. I'll leave it up to those guys."

Wheeler didn't allow a hit until Wilson Ramos' leadoff single in the fifth that caromed off the glove of diving second baseman Jeff McNeil and into short right field. Wheeler then gave up a single to Nick Williams and hit Odubel Herrera with a pitch to load the bases. Crawford cleared them with a triple to right, and Cesar Hernandez's sacrifice fly scored Crawford to tie it at 4.

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