Mets: Taijuan Walker Emerging Just As The Team Needs A Pitching Lift

Mets 2021 Looking Ahead (UPI)

It’s a given that Mets pitching has carried the team thus far. But the starting staff remains fluent with Luis Rojas tossing a daily coin…

While the Mets remain hopeful that Jacob deGrom will return to face the Arizona Diamondbacks this Sunday, nothing is written in stone, and that can be said for the rest of the staff, except for Marcus Stroman, who seems to have found his niche in the National League.

Taijuan Walker, Lifting the Mets (amazinavenue.com)
Taijuan Walker, Lifting the Mets (amazinavenue.com)

It’s been one up and one down for the Mets the last week or so.

The team received a lift from 28-year-old right-hander Taijuan Walker when he tossed seven innings of one-hit, leading the Mets to a 4-1 win over the Cardinals while lowering his ERA to 2.38.

But that was followed by a downer when the Mets received news that Carlos Carrasco‘s rehab has veered off-course, and after being moved to the 60-day IL, it is expected he will now miss all of May and possibly into June.

Mets Starting Staff In Flux

Mets manager Luis Rojas is still not committed to giving a start this weekend to Joey Lucchesi, and all he would say is “he’s in-line on days rest to make the start.”

Mets Joey Lucchesi looking for consistency (nypost.com)
Mets Joey Lucchesi looking for consistency (nypost.com)

Lucchesi, a 27-year-old lefty, came over from the San Diego Padres in a trade this past January. In 2019, Lucchesi made 30 starts for the Padres, finishing at 10-10 with a 4.18 ERA.

But Lucchesi is struggling with a 10.13 ERA in three starts for the Mets this year, surrendering 14 hits in just 10.1 innings pitched, leaving the good reason for Rojas to flinch a bit before sending him out there again.

The other lefty for the Mets, David Patterson, is struggling to find some consistency. Over four outings, Patterson has pitched four, six, three, and six innings – while the Mets are 1-3 in his starts.

Peterson will take the mound tonight to face the D-Backs in the first of three at Citi Field.

The key, of course, is Jacob deGrom, whom the Mets pushed back a day, giving him six days rest before DeGrom removed himself from that start as a precautionary measure.

The Mets have not moved deGrom to the 10-day IL, trusting him as a veteran who knows his body better than anyone to make the right call when he pitches again.

Help Is Not On The Way

Complicating things for the Mets is when Luis Rojas and his pitching coach Jeremy Heffner scan the roster at Triple-A Syracuse, there is little to draw on for immediate help.

With no reason to ring the panic bell, the fact remains the Mets are still running last in the majors in runs scored with 88 over their 26 games, and there is little indication of things improving.

Mets’ new hitting coach Hugh Quattlebaum vows to “keep things simple,” though, for the moment, he is burning the midnight oil trying to “catch up” by watching the video of his hitters’ swings before actually making any significant contact with Mets hitters.

Mets: Watch Out For Those Phillies

Also in play are the Philadelphia Phillies, who have won four straight and now hold the top spot in the NL East Standings, the only team in the division with a plus .500 record.

Although the season is young, the big worry for the Mets in a division so tight is that a team other than themselves will get hot enough to break away from the pack – for good – especially a team like the Phillies with their stellar starting staff, led by Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and Zach Eflin.

Mets Hitting Coach Hugh Quattlebaum in there to help
Mets Hitting Coach Hugh Quattlebaum in there to help

For the Mets and their fans, though, hopeful that their pitching continues to buttress the team, along with the confidence that the hitting will come around soon, remain the keywords for a team that is always in the fight.

Hitting, as we discussed the other day, is contagious. Alas, so is poor hitting, meaning it’s only a matter of time when two or three Mets hitters begin to click.

They’re too good for that not to happen…

Here’s What Readers Are Saying…

Robert Sanchez

He’s good

John Aynejian

Taijuan is great
Stephen Steele

Admin
I hope group members remember that when they were talking with Odorizzi in November, I was the only one calling for Walker.
Andy Holtmann

Stephen Steele Not true … I too wanted Walker over Odorizzi. (Though I wanted Paxton more and look how that would have turned out — whew).

 

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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.