Great anticipation still lives with the Mets.

They reinforced the notion Saturday night with an understated performance by Zack Wheeler the pitching prodigy who ever since his arrival has received second-billing status.

It was a muggy night at Nationals Park. The Capitol could be seen beyond the left-field wall in a summer haze. Wheeler chose to beat the heat by supplementing a pinpoint fastball with an alignment of sliders curveballs and changeups an experiment that is quickly turning into a game plan.

In the end the Mets belted out 17 hits a season high defeating the Nationals 11-3. They scored six runs in one inning. But the game was distinguished by Wheeler’s variety pack of pitches that resulted in a pile of groundouts and constant headshaking by Washington’s hitters who seemed to be expecting something else from a hard thrower.

Wheeler taking stock of his performance said he had already learned that he doesn’t have to throw a ball 97 miles an hour as he long as he can place the pitch on the edges of the strike zone.

"Same with a curve and changeup" he said. "Let it do its thing.

Matt Harvey it has been said is the one with polish but Wheeler in two months in the majors is 7-3. On Saturday night over 6⅔ innings he gave up two runs five hits walked a batter and struck out three nothing there to steal headlines.

From the start the 2013 Mets have been an odd construct with a mandate not to win now but to provide the suggestion that something good is coming soon. But it took one serious injury to Harvey’s elbow to revive that old foreboding. Wait until next year turned into wait for some day out there.