Taijuan Walker shelled, but there were two silver linings in the Mets loss to the Braves
Taijuan Walker allowed eight runs in one-plus inning of work on Friday
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾
The Mets lost to the Braves 9-6 on Friday night at Citi Field (Box)
Taijuan Walker was ineffective for the Mets on Friday - he allowed eight runs in 1+ IP - it was only the second time in his career he allowed eight or more runs in a start
The Mets did make this a ballgame - they put up a four-spot in the fifth inning, all with two outs, thanks in part to a two-run double from Darin Ruf in his first at-bat with the club
Jeff McNeil homered in the ninth inning, and the Mets tallied three doubles on the night despite the loss
The Mets ended a streak of 27 games allowing five or fewer runs - it was the longest such stream by any team this season and the longest streak in franchise history
The Mets bullpen allowed just one run over eight innings of relief
Who’s Hot 🔥
Francisco Lindor has reached base safely in 12 straight games. He is hitting .400/.491/.689 with four doubles, three home runs and eight RBI during that span
Jeff McNeil has an eight-game hitting streak and is hitting .429/.444/.743 with five doubles, two home runs and five RBI during that stretch
Over his last nine games, Brandon Nimmo is hitting .342/.386/.488 with three doubles, a home run and seven RBI with four multi-hit games during that span
Trevor Williams has not allowed a run over his last five relief appearances, a span of 12.1 IP. Overall, Williams is running a 17 inning scoreless streak
Roster Moves 📰
INF Kramer Robertson claimed off waivers by the Cardinals
Playoff Odds Tracker 🎲
The Mets are 67-39 and lead the Braves by 3.5 games in the National League East with 56 games to go. They are on-pace for 102 wins which would be their highest mark since 1986 (108):
Playoff odds (FanGraphs):
Make the playoffs: 100 percent ↔️
Win the National League East: 74.7 percent ⬇️
Clinch first round bye: 73.9 percent ⬇️
Win the World Series: 15 percent ⬇️
Today’s Games 🗓
Match-up: Mets (67-39) vs. Braves (64-43)
Where: Citi Field - Flushing, New York
Starters: LHP David Peterson (5-2 3.54 ERA) vs RHP Jake Odorizzi (4-3, 3.75 ERA)
When: 1:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
Starters: RHP Max Scherzer (7-2 2.13 ERA) vs LHP Max Fried (10-3, 2.58 ERA)
When: 7:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: WPIX
The two silver linings in Friday night’s loss…📝
Even in the eyes of defeat, there are always silver linings with this Mets team.
Unquestionably, that was a clunker thrown up by Taijuan Walker. If you didn’t see a single pitch from Walker’s brief one-plus inning outing, all you need to know is after he retired Ronald Acuña, Jr. in the first inning, he tripped off the mound, appeared to tweak something in his hip or back, and he could never get into any kind of rhythm from there.
As he put it after the game, he didn’t have command of anything. The stink of it is, he threw 30 or so pitches in the first inning after allowing four runs (during which, he was absolutely pummeled) and Mets manager Buck Showalter was really forced to give him some more rope with today’s doubleheader staring him right in the face. The consequence of that decision of course was Walker didn’t find it in between innings and the Braves kept the barrage going until Buck simply had no choice but to go to his bullpen.
Before the Mets knew it, they were down 8-0 with outs to get in the second inning.
In the end, it was an ugly night for Walker in more ways than one. He broke a 15-start streak in which he hadn’t allowed four or more runs in a blink of an eye last night. He hadn’t allowed more than three runs in nine straight starts.
It happens, as many people said on Twitter last night.
But there were a couple of silver linings in this one, despite Atlanta’s smackdown of Walker and the Mets over the first two innings.
First, the bullpen.
Trevor Williams came to Walker’s and the Mets’ rescue. He shut the Braves down scattering just four hits and a walk over four innings. That bridged them to the sixth inning, giving the club a chance to make this a game. Joely Rodríguez and Mychal Givens also gave the Mets scoreless innings of relief, although Tommy Hunter allowed a ninth inning solo blast to William Contreras.
All told though, the bullpen allowed just one run over eight innings, scattered across four pitchers.
With the doubleheader today, Walker’s outing was far from ideal. But the ability of Williams to get them through six innings and save most of the front end of the bullpen for the doubleheader earns him a game ball at least. Billy Eppler will likely need to find a fresh arm in addition to David Peterson in order to fortify the bullpen for the two games today, but this could’ve been a whole lot worse for the Mets aside from the loss.
About Williams for a moment.
He has been quietly excellent for the Mets overall this season, specifically out of the bullpen. Over 12 appearances in relief, he has allowed 22 hits and only four earned runs with 31 strikeouts over 28 innings. Sure, most of those relief appearances are low leverage but his excellence and value go beyond the ERA. His ability to do what he did last night and not only pitch well but give the Mets valuable innings and save their bullpen especially with a twin-bill slated for today provides immeasurable value for the club. He does this time and time again for the Mets, and while it’s unclear what his role might be on a playoff roster, it’s little big things like his effort last night which has unquestionably led them on a path towards October.
Second, the fight and might in this club.
For any team, staring up an 8-0 cliff can be a mail-in situation. Even in a big game against a team’s biggest divisional rival.
But not for these Mets. No, they’ve proven time and time again no deficit is too large for them and the game isn’t over until the 27th out has been recorded.
It took a while for the Mets to get their bats going against Ian Anderson. They had run themselves out of the second inning on a play at the plate with two outs on an ill-advised send (given they were down seven runs) by Joey Cora of Luis Guillorme. But after Williams was able to hold the mighty Braves lineup down, the Mets bats came alive in the fifth thanks to a two-out single from Jeff McNeil to plate Francisco Lindor, a two-run double from Darin Ruf (in his first at-bat with the Mets), and a single from Eduardo Escobar to plate Ruf.
Suddenly, it was 8-5 and the buzz was back in the ballpark.
The point is, there’s no quit in this Mets club as we’ve seen so many times over the course of the year. Sure, they came up short in the end - it’s not often a team can overcome an eight-run deficit and win. Too many things have to go right for them.
But, the Mets played this one through the game’s 27th out. They stayed engaged and focused, understanding the game was still a big one on the calendar despite the early stumble.
How many times in years past have the Mets been down big like they were last night, and you turned the television off or you left the ballpark early? Too many times.
Yes, what ultimately matters is whether they win or lose. And the loss got the Braves back to within 3.5 games of the Mets for first place in the National League East. And yes, each of these games are a two game swing depending on the outcome.
But it was still a character-building game nonetheless for these Mets, something which can only help them through these hot dog days of summer and through the home stretch of this pennant race.
Down on the Farm 🌾
Francisco Álvarez (C, No. 1 Prospect, Triple-A): 1-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
Brett Baty (3B, No. 3 Prospect, Double-A): 5-for-9, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R
Keyshawn Askew (RHP, Single-A): 4.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 6 K
Raúl Beracierta (LF, Low-A): 3-for-5, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
Around the League 🚩
The Phillies clocked the Nationals 7-2 in Philadelphia as Kyle Gibson took a perfect game into the seventh inning - they are now nine games behind the Mets in the National League East
Willson Contreras hit an eighth inning two-run home run in a 2-1 comeback win over the Marlins at Wrigley Field
The Cardinals edged the Yankees 4-3 thanks to an eighth inning, two-run double from Paul DeJong
The Dodgers put up eight runs in the first three innings against the Padres at Dodger Stadium, sending them to an 8-1 win
The Dodgers placed Clayton Kershaw on the injured list with a back injury
Fernando Tatís, Jr. is set to begin a rehab assignment - he has been on the injured list all year after breaking his wrist in the off-season
Miguel Cabrera - who is dealing with a chronic knee injury - said he plans to play out his contract in 2023