Taijuan Walker and Josiah Gray are at different points in their careers, but both got it done on separate coasts on Tuesday night against some of the best offenses in baseball.
Taijuan Walker won Game 1 of the most anticipated Subway Series between the Mets and Yankees in over 20 years.
— MLB (@MLB) July 26, 2022
“It’s going to be a fun one,” said Aaron Judge, who tagged Walker early with his Major League leading 38th home run of the season.
That was one of two first inning solo shots given up by Walker. Those two homers match the amount of home runs he had given up over his last 80 innings.
He settled down nicely after that, going seven innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits and three strikeouts.
That was the eighth consecutive quality start for Walker. Considering it came against the best offense in the American League, only his June 29th start against the Houston Astros where he went 7.1 shutout innings was more impressive.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa praising Taijuan Walker’s pick off move: “It’s the best move I’ve ever seen” pic.twitter.com/UEw7JUiFOk
— Shea Station (@shea_station) July 27, 2022
Walker retired the final seven batters he faced in Tuesday’s outing and picked off Yankees shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa with what Kiner-Falefa claimed was “The best pickoff move I have ever seen.”
Most defensive runs saved (DRS) by a pitcher this season:
— Mathew Brownstein (@MBrownstein89) July 27, 2022
In his tenth season in the Majors, Walker has his record at 8-2 with a 2.67 ERA — is on pace to be the lowest of his career; this following a 2021 that was good enough to get him selected to the All-Star Game.
Coming down the stretch, Walker will be getting his first taste of a pennant chase. As one of the three or four starters for the Mets, being able to keep this level of success will be one of the determining factors in not only the National League East race but also if the Mets can hoist their first World Series Championship since 1986.
Walker’s next start will come Sunday afternoon in South Beach against the Miami Marlins.
Josiah Gray Returns
Josiah Gray, once a top prospect in the Dodgers organization, made his Dodger Stadium debut in front of 53,032 people Tuesday night. That was the largest crowd to attend a Major League Baseball game this season and the atmosphere was electrifying.
Mookie Betts hits a solo shot (23) to cut the Nationals lead down to 2-1.
— MLB Updates (@MLBNews1234) July 27, 2022
Just like Walker, Gray was knocked around early in the first. He was the victim of a leadoff homer by National League MVP candidate and four-time Silver Slugger award winner Mookie Betts.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 27, 2022
Gray went five innings, giving up three earned runs and six strikeouts. He got a no decision in an 8-3 Nationals win.
At last season’s trade deadline, the Dodgers sent Gray and fellow teammate Kerbert Ruiz to Washington in exchange for Trea Turner and Max Scherzer.
Washington Nationals Black Ace @JGrayy_ joined the High & Outside podcast with @_teammill and @OctobersOwnTae to discuss the importance of his slider through the first few months of his first Major League season. Check out the full interview here!https://t.co/3IW7SNyOtI pic.twitter.com/vlJ63LQzHw
— MLBbro.com (@MLBbrodotcom) July 14, 2022
While the Dodgers missed out on the World Series and lost Scherzer in free agency, Gray has a chance – as the clear-cut Ace of the Nationals – to build a solid foundation on what could be a long and prosperous career.
He has been up and down this season, highlighted by his 5.74 ERA in May, 1.13 ERA in June and his 6.65 ERA after his final start in July. He will look to piggyback this effort into his next start which will be next Monday night at home in the Nation’s Capital.