Matz, Wheeler struggle as opening day nears
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler took a step back Wednesday in the Mets' 15-9 loss to the Miami Marlins, a shaky sign for New York with opening day less than two weeks away.
Matz gave up five runs and eight hits in four innings, including one run in the first and four in the second.
''I was up in the zone. Last time I was up out of the zone and had some walks,'' Matz said. ''This time (the fastballs) were up in the zone and they were able to get their barrels to it more.''
Coming off surgery Oct. 4 to remove bone spurs from his left elbow, he entered with a 1.04 ERA in his first three spring training starts.
''I'm glad I've got one or two more starts before the season comes. You try to not let this stuff bother you, but still when you're getting hit around, it's never fun,'' Matz said.
Wheeler allowed four runs in three innings, including three in his last. His velocity reached 96 mph.
''I felt good, I guess, but it's not the result I wanted,'' Wheeler said.
Wheeler gave up a solo homer in the eighth to Tyler Moore, who hit a three-run homer against Fernando Salas in the ninth.
''His arm strength is there, and he feels good,'' Mets manager Terry Collins said of Wheeler. ''He got a little fatigued in that last inning. He's got to build that endurance up.''
NOTES: OF Curtis Granderson hit a two-run homer in the first off Scott Copeland, a drive that cleared the pavilion behind the berm beyond right field. He added another two-run homer in the sixth. ... OF Jay Bruce homered in his first game since Friday. ... The Mets will play Triple-A affiliate Las Vegas on March 30 in Port St. Lucie, then host Army at Citi Field the next day - a game moved from West Point because of recent snow.