Mets tab Wheeler to open set vs. Cardinals

Mets tab Wheeler to open set vs. Cardinals

Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright produced one of the worst starts of his career on June 17 against the Orioles, but he's appeared to put that outing behind him, earning quality starts in three of his past four outings. He will try to keep it up against Zack Wheeler and the Mets on Monday at Citi Field.

Wainwright surrendered nine earned runs on seven hits in 1 2/3 innings against the O's, marking the first time in 268 career starts that he didn't finish the second. But he rebounded to pitch seven innings of two-run ball in his next outing on June 23 against the Pirates. He allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings against the Mets on July 8 in his last start before the All-Star break.

"After Baltimore, [I] just completely changed a lot of different things and just got into the idea that execution is the main thing of the game," Wainwright said. "Just going to make one pitch after another, after another, after another, and there's a couple of keys I've found that have always worked for me that I just needed to get back to, and here we are."

Wheeler also bounced back from a stretch of rough outings. After posting a 18.41 ERA in three starts from June 13-July 1, he held the Cardinals to two runs in six innings on July 8. He will have a chance to build on that performance against the same team in his first start since the break.

Things to know about this game
• Magneuris Sierra has made the most of his short time in the Majors. With his infield single on Sunday, he set a Cardinals record by notching a hit in his first nine Major League games.

• Mets outfielder Michael Conforto has already set career highs in home runs and RBIs this season, but he is still looking for his first career hit against Wainwright. He is 0-for-3 against the Cards righty.

• Cardinals outfielder Tommy Pham has credited controlling the strike zone as the main reason for his recent success at the plate. The numbers back him up. According to Statcast, Pham is hitting .354 and slugging .607 on pitches inside the zone, which are better than the league averages of .290 and .502, respectively. He's also laying off pitches outside the zone, with just 16 percent of his at-bats ending with him swinging at pitch outside the zone.

Jonathan Toye is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh who covered the Cardinals on Sunday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.