As he did for much of 2021, Mets melanated mound marauder Taijuan Walker has carried a huge load as he’s effectively led the pitching staff in the absence of Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom.
Despite Scherzer just recently returning from nearly seven weeks on the injured list with a strained left oblique and deGrom set to reclaim his spot atop the rotation after a stint on the IL, the Mets have been able to maintain their position atop the NL East behind Walker’s ace pitching.
In fact, Sunday’s start was the first time in 10 starts that Walker failed to complete the sixth inning. He has been a workhorse and should have been named to the All-Star team considering the success of the team and how its No. 3 starter has performed like a true No. 1.
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With the exception of a 10-day IL stint in April with bursitis in right shoulder, Walker’s 18 starts are third-most on the team (Carlos Carrasco has 20, Chris Bassitt has 19) and the last time the Mets lost in a game Walker started was back on July 10th, a 2-0 loss to the Miami Marlins in 10 innings. Walker was Black ace bangin’ in that game, going seven innings and allowing 0 runs on three hits.
Sunday’s 5 2/3 innings pitched was the first time since June 2 that Walker didn’t deliver a quality start, but it was enough. He was on his bulldog, throwing 101 pitches in a 9-3 Mets win, while lifting his record to an impressive 9-2.
“I didn’t think I had my best stuff,” Walker said. “The offense did a real good job of scoring runs early. I really wanted to go out and finish the sixth inning…it was alright.”
As Walker continues to provide solid outings and innings for the Mets – and his splitter’s effectiveness continues to rate an all-time level – the standard that he’s judged by also increases.
Max Scherzer’s return definitely alleviates some pressure for Walker. Since coming off the IL Mad Max has a 1.39 ERA in 32.,1 innings pitched with 45 Ks in five starts. deGrom could post even better numbers when he returns. The win was also the NL East-leading Mets’ sixth straight win as they get locked in and fully loaded for the playoff stretch run.
Now do you understand why the Mets will be almost impossible to defeat come playoff time if fully armed?