As the Mets try to figure out how their new plays fit together and what it all means for their eventual World Series chances, they should try to remember that an 8-0 second-inning drop isn’t conducive. to victory.
Taijuan Walker couldn’t come out of the second inning of the Mets’ 9-6 loss to the Braves on Friday night. His eight earned runs stick out like a sore thumb, but not having a single puff on his four-seam fastball or his splitter (his two most-used pitches of the season) is really what did him. When Walker was pulled with no one out and runners in the top corners of round two, he came off the mound knowing he had just put on his worst performance as a Met. The 33-pitch first inning, in which he also got a cleat stuck in the mound and threw a very weird pitch that knocked the athletic trainer out, will likely spin in his brain like clothes in a washing machine. . At least he can say he didn’t walk with anyone.
“I didn’t have control of my fastball today, my splitter was up,” Walker detailed. “I didn’t land sliders for strikes and left balls in the middle of the plate. They hit me hard today.
The eight earned runs were the most Walker had allowed since April 10, 2015, when he was still a Seattle Mariner. Atlanta batters hit base in all sorts of ways, combining singles, doubles, homers and even one hit per pitch to snag the twisted numbers. Eddie Rosario hit a two-run homer in the first to give his team a four-run lead, then Michael Harris II hit a solo shot to start the second. The Braves followed that up with three straight singles, and when Trevor Williams couldn’t block any of his legacy runners, the Mets faced an extremely uphill battle before many fans had even made their way through the vicious stadium traffic. .
“It wasn’t a good day for me,” Walker said afterwards. “It was one of those early days, you know? I don’t want that to happen in a big series like this, but it did. I’ll move on. I’m going to empty it and come back to it in five days.
In an encouraging display of resilience and morale, neither the Mets nor their loyalists showed surrender. The 8-0 horror on the Citi Field scoreboard quickly disappeared when Brandon Nimmo threw an RBI single late in the second. Unfortunately, Luis Guillorme was sent off at home trying to give the Mets a second run, killing a potentially incendiary rally.
“It’s funny,” Buck Showalter said of the home plate play a third baseman coach Joey Cora might want to come back to. “We’ve played 106 games and this is the first time anyone has mentioned the third base coach. I think that answers everything you need to know.
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Later in the fifth inning, the crowd fully embraced the possibility of an unlikely win. Feeling that their team played well all year and had plenty of time to make a comeback – or maybe it was just overconfidence on Friday night – the Flushing faithful almost wanted it. The Mets finally got to Atlanta starter Ian Anderson, sending him packing on Jeff McNeil’s single. The Braves then brought in a southpaw, which meant Darin Ruf could finally get a chance to hit, and he hit a two-run double in his first plate appearance as the Met.
“It takes a bit of the pressure off,” Ruf said of a hit on his first down. Tyler [Naquin] and Vogey swung the bat very well. I felt like I needed to give weight to some of the new guys.
The pinch fortunes continued when Eduardo Escobar hit for Guillorme and threw one into left field, allowing Ruf to score his first run as a Met. Before they could get the tie run at home plate, however, Tomas Nido flew to the right to crush the rally. Losing that game was definitely not the batters’ fault. The Mets finished with 12 hits and worked five walks, providing the type of crowded base paths that usually lead to better things. But again, falling behind by eight in the first half hour of the game put them in an almost impossible situation.
Friday night marked the first time since June 28 that the Mets allowed nine runs in a game and snapped a franchise-best 27-game streak by allowing five or fewer. The fact that Atlanta’s total runs are only nine is due to Amazin’s bullpen. Invited to get 24 outs in relief from Walker, Trevor Williams, Joely Rodriguez, Mychal Givens and Tommy Hunter did so while allowing only one run. Hunter, recording his second inning of work, surrendered a gopher ball to Atlanta receiver William Contreras at the very end.
The slight silver lining is that with a doubleheader coming up on Saturday, Showalter didn’t have to use any of his high leverage relievers. Edwin Diaz, Adam Ottavino, Seth Lugo and Trevor May are all fresh for the upcoming double dive. Playing two games on the same day will also allow the team to show off their newly gained depth, with the squad partners likely sharing starter duties.
Sometimes a wake-up call is needed. While the Mets may feel good about non-Walker performances on Friday and the fact that they never got knocked down and died, a loss to a seemingly out-of-control division rival in the second inning is both slightly demoralizing and unusual. crew.
If they get a signature outing from Max Scherzer on Saturday in Game 2, all of that will quickly be forgotten.