Taijuan Walker vs. Josiah Gray | Melanated Mound Marauders Bounced Quickly In Nation’s Capital

Taijuan Walker vs. Josiah Gray | Melanated Mound Marauders Bounced Quickly In Nation’s Capital

Rough first innings for Taijuan Walker and Josiah Gray made it a not so great Sunday Funday in the matchup between melanated mound marauders.

The game between the New York Mets and Washington Nationals brought us the first career matchup between 2021 All-Star Taijuan Walker and former Dodgers top prospect Josiah Gray.

 

Gray took the mound first for the home team Nationals, and sadly it became clear before the first out was even recorded that we would not be witnessing a pitchers duel.

 

 

He allowed the first three Mets to reach base before giving up a two-run single. The score was 4-0 in favor of New York before Gray would even record the first out.

Gray would also give up home runs in both the second and third innings as he only lasted three innings allowing seven hits, six earned runs and striking out two on 87 pitches.

 

“They came out attacking early, and then coupled with my command not being there, not being great tonight, that was the result tonight,” said Gray who struggled for his second start in a row.


Gray is going to have to take his lumps and get acclimated to the Bigs during the final month of his 2021 season.  

He had six consecutive starts pitching at least five innings before that streak was snapped in last Monday’s start against the Phillies. The young hurler only lasted four innings and gave up seven runs — six of which were earned— and struck out four.

After going through a few post All-Star Game struggles, “Fly High” Taijuan Walker seemed to be rounding his way back into form after a successful August. However,  his first start of September showed otherwise.

 


He gave up a leadoff home run on a 3-1 pitch.  Then, later on that inning Walker would give up a two-run home run to #HighFive member Josh Bell which cut the lead to 4-3.

Bell would finish the game 1-for-2 at the plate drawing two walks and collecting two RBI.  Over his last seven games the switch hitting first baseman has a .308 average, a .419 on base percentage, three RBI and five walks.

 

 

Walker would settle down as he held the Nats off the scoreboard through four innings but would give up three runs in the fifth inning, including four singles, a wild pitch, and a walk to Josh Bell.

Walker lasted 4.1 innings, giving up the two home runs, striking out six batters and giving up six hits and six runs.

The Mets would end up winning the game 13-6 and took three out of four games against the Nationals.

This recent burst has elevated the Mets to just 3.5 games back of the second National League wild card spot, but time is running out. 

Both Walker and Gray will look to bounce back during their starts next weekend.

Gray will lead his Nationals into Pittsburgh for a game against the Pirates while Walker will get another taste of the Subway Series as his Mets take on the Yankees.

Taijuan Walker’s All-Star Snub Is An MLBbro Travesty!

Taijuan Walker’s All-Star Snub Is An MLBbro Travesty!

By Charles Nyonga | Contributor

 

Charlie Hustle goes First To Third and runs down the travesty that is Mets pitcher Taijuan Walker’s All-Star snub. The dude should be in Colorado because the Mets would be nowhere without their workhorse.

He’s arguably the team’s MVP, with all due respect to oft-injured Jacob Degrom.

 

 

 

 

Taylor Hearn Continues To Push The Limits Of His Pitching Potential

Taylor Hearn Continues To Push The Limits Of His Pitching Potential

Taylor Hearn is in his third season with the Texas Rangers and the left-handed pitcher has already made more appearances this season than the last two combined.

Hearn is starting to adjust in the league as a pitcher and he wants to help make an impact for the Rangers anyway he can. 

 

 

Typically, Hearn is a bullpen guy, who comes in later in the game and pitches anywhere from one to two innings. At times he may be asked to go longer.

But recently, he did something for the first time this season, starting a game on the mound.

In his first start of the season, Hearn did not have the outing that he envisioned.

On June 22, 2021, he took the mound against the Oakland Athletics. It was a quick outing for Hearn as he only threw 0.2 innings. He gave up four runs on two hits and walked three.

Now Hearn had made 22 appearances before that, but they all were out of the bullpen. So he quickly had to make an adjustment in preparation for his first start of the year.

 

He walked the first batter he faced on four straight pitches and then gave up a home run to the second batter he faced.

So you see, it was one of those nights for Hearn. But that’s the game and it happens. It’s all about how you bounce back from adversity. 

Rangers manager Chris Woodward did not waste any time pulling Hearn out of the game.

“He just didn’t have good command,” Woodward told The Dallas Morning News. “He was all over the place.”

Going into the game, Woodward was not expecting Hearn to pitch more than a few innings or even solidify himself as a starter. Hearn only made one other start during his career and that came in 2019. It was his major league debut and he only recorded one out before he was pulled.

So for Hearn, it seems like coming out of the bullpen is more of his thing. But who knows, he may get another opportunity to start during the season and he might have a totally different outing.

 

 

June has not been a good month for the 26-year-old on the mound as he finished the month with a 9.58 ERA in seven appearances.

But in May, the 26-year-old was an effective reliever out of the bullpen. He made eight appearances during the month and had one game where he allowed the opposing team to score. 

He finished May with a 1.93 ERA through 14 innings of work and picked up two wins. Hearn has a 2-2 record through 23 games and an ERA of 5.75 with 42 strikeouts. He had the streets of Arlington buzzing. 

 

#HIGH5 | Blacks In The Bullpen To Watch

 

Everyone has ups and down throughout the course of a grueling 162-game season. Our MLBbro will have many opportunities to make an impact on the mound. 

Hearn can use his recent performance as motivation going forward. There’s no question that he has the skillset to be effective.

RIP To Jim “Mudcat ” Grant |  The OG Black Ace

RIP To Jim “Mudcat ” Grant | The OG Black Ace

MLBbro.com is always celebrating the exclusive Black Ace fraternity and educating people on exactly what a Black Ace is.

Those conversations — about Black excellence in pitching and the pioneers of the game — always lead back to former Major League Baseball all-star pitcher Jim “Mudcat” Grant, who made it his business to chronicle how incredible an accomplishment it is for a Black pitcher to win 20 games.

Grant is the first African-American 20-game winner in the American League (Minnesota Twins, 1965) and the first African-American to win a World Series Game in the American League (1965). 

Mudcat passed away on Saturday at the age of 85, leaving MLB with another lost icon.

 

 

Via thewrap.com, “Grant spent seven seasons with the Cleveland Indians at the start of his pitching career, then got traded to the Minnesota twins in 1964 where he would go on to blossom into an ace pitcher the following season. Grant went 21-7 with a 3.30 ERA. Grant played for the Twins for four seasons and also played for the Oakland A’s, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers, Montreal Expos and Pittsburgh Pirates.

Grant retired in 1971 with a record of 145-119 and 54 saves.

Grant was born in 1935 in Lacoochee, Florida where he went on to become a two-sport athlete in baseball and football, at Florida A&M.”

 


What’s A Black Ace?

Mudcat is the leader of an exclusive fraternity that hasn’t had a member enter since 2012, when Price went 20-5 for the Toronto Blue Jays.

“The term “Black Aces,” derived from the book, Baseball’s Only African-American Twenty-Game Winners, written by Grant. 

The book is a historically accurate description of the lives of the thirteen African-American 20-game winners in the Majors that existed when the book was released in 2007.

 

The 15 Black Aces 

Canadian-born Ferguson Jenkins won 20-games or more a remarkable seven times (1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974)

 

 

Bullet Bob Gibson did it five times (1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970)

 

 

Dave Stewart did it four times (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990)

Don Newcombe (1951, 1955 and 1956), and Vida Blue (1971, 1973, 1975) both won 20 or more games three times.

 

 

Dontrelle Willis (2005), CC Sabathia (2010), David Price (2012),  Al Downing (1971), Dwight Gooden (1985), Sam Jones (1959), Mike Norris (1980), J.R. Richard (1976), Earl Wilson (1967) and of course, Mudcat Grant (1965) all did it once.

 

 

Respect Dave Stewart

Dave Stewart is the last Black pitcher to post multiple 20-win seasons. To put this into perspective, in the history of Major League Baseball only five black pitchers have eclipsed the 20 wins mark multiple times in a career.

 

 

Two of the five are in the Baseball Hall of Fame: Jenkins, who won more than 250 games in a 14-year career, and Gibson, who did it five times in a span of only six years. Gibson was so unhittable in 1968, that MLB lowered the mound to make it easier for hitters to deal with such Black dominance 

Newcombe of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who was the first black pitcher to ever win 20 (1951), and Vida Blue of the Oakland Athletics during the 1970s, each reached the achievement three times.

 

 

Price and CC are the last of MLB’s Black Aces. 

Sabathia went 21-7  with the Yankees in 2010 after signing a huge free agent deal and then leading the Yankees to their first World Series in almost a decade in 2009. Price went 20-5 as the ace workhorse for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012. 

 

 

With the way pitching philosophy and culture have changed in the past decade, we may never see another Black or Brown 20-game winner again. So we must hold all Black Aces in the highest esteem because it’s one of the rarest achievements in baseball.

We also must remember and cherish the memory of Mudcat Grant, a pioneer who endured and defeated way more than just prolific hitters, in order to secure his legacy.

We can never overlook the racism and the excruciatingly volatile circumstances that these pitchers had to perform under.

Never performing on an even playing field. Always having to be superhuman almost, just to do the simple things that their white counterparts took for granted.

Lighters, glasses, hands up in the air for a true sports icon. RIP Mudcat.

** Graphics by David Grubb