Taijuan Walker’s ugly start dooms Mets in loss to Braves

Taijuan Walker’s ugly start dooms Mets in loss to Braves

With a doubleheader looming on Saturday, the Mets may sick afford a brief begin Friday night time. 

However Taijuan Walker gave them that quick begin, a possible harm scare and an eight-run deficit in a single fell swoop. 

Walker’s night time ended earlier than he may document a fourth out, and he had dug the Mets an enormous gap they might by no means absolutely climb out of in a 9-6 loss to the Braves at Citi Discipline. 

The short-term concern was the 8-0 deficit the Mets confronted by the second inning. However of larger concern was the discomfort that Walker gave the impression to be pitching by way of, and what it’d imply for his subsequent begin, plus the eight innings the Mets’ bullpen was pressured to cowl on the eve of taking part in a minimum of 18 innings on Saturday. 

As an alternative of rolling over, although, the Mets (67-39) made a recreation of it, getting inside 8-5 by the fifth inning and ultimately forcing the Braves (64-43) to make use of most of their high-leverage relievers, together with nearer Kenley Jansen. The Mets introduced the potential tying run to the plate within the sixth inning earlier than arising quick and having their lead atop the NL East trimmed again to three ¹/₂ video games. 

Taijuan Walker reacts throughout his tough begin. Jason Szenes

Taijuan Walker grabs his proper hip in the course of the first inning. Jason Szenes

Walker’s harm scare got here within the first inning, when he stumbled after a pitch to the third batter of the night time, Matt Olson, then took a sluggish stroll in the direction of the plate and again to the mound. It was not instantly clear what Walker’s bodily concern was, although it drew the eye of the dugout as a coach, supervisor Buck Showalter and pitching coach Jeremy Hefner got here out to go to him. 

However after throwing two warmup pitches, Walker remained within the recreation, solely to get ambushed by the Braves. Olson smacked an RBI double earlier than Walker hit Austin Riley with an errant splitter. 

Eddie Rosario got here up subsequent and crushed a three-run homer to proper subject that put the Braves up 4-0. 

Eddie Rosario, proper, celebrates with teammates after his three-run house run within the first inning. Jason Szenes

Taijuan Walker is checked after grabbing his hip on a pitch. Jason Szenes

The Mets had an opportunity to chop the Braves’ lead in half within the backside of the primary, however Ronald Acuña Jr. leaped on the right-field wall to rob Pete Alonso of what may need been a two-run homer. 

The Braves continued mashing within the second inning. Michael Harris II led off with a house run to make it 5-0. Acuña then singled, stole second and got here round to attain on Dansby Swanson’s broken-bat single, prompting one other mound go to from Hefner. 

However after a 114.6 mph single off the bat of Olson, Showalter determined he had seen sufficient, pulling Walker from the sport at 50 pitches. The proper-hander’s velocity was down on all of his pitches, most notably his slider (-2.5 mph from his season common). 

Darin Ruf connects on an RBI double within the fifth inning. Jason Szenes

Trevor Williams entered from the bullpen and acquired a floor ball for a fielder’s alternative that drove in one other run earlier than Rosario capped off the rally with an RBI double ripped to the hole to make it 8-0. 

Williams, who had pitched only one inning within the final 13 days earlier than Friday, supplied vital size, staying in for 4 innings and 52 pitches whereas retaining the Braves at bay. He was the primary of 4 relievers the Mets wanted to get by way of the night time. 

The Mets acquired one run again within the second inning, however wasted an opportunity for extra. With the bases loaded and two outs, Brandon Nimmo lined an RBI single to middle subject, however third base coach Joey Cora waved Luis Guillorme house from second and he was nailed on the plate on a robust throw from Harris to finish the inning. 

The rally was extra fruitful within the fifth. Singles by Francisco Lindor, Alonso and Jeff McNeil acquired it began earlier than Darin Ruf made his Mets debut as a pinch-hitter towards lefty Dylan Lee and roped a two-run double to get inside 8-4. 

Eduardo Escobar pinch-hit subsequent and lined an RBI single to make it 8-5, however that was as shut because the Mets acquired.

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