Taijuan Walker entered Wednesday night’s start with a 7.74 ERA since the all-star break.
His regression since being named to his first NL All-Star team has been well documented. For the Mets, this fall was at the center of their fall in the second half.
For Walker, one can only imagine the frustration he has gone through over the past two months.
As of July 18, the Mets were 2-10 when he started. As for decisions, Walker himself has gone winless, 0-8 since the Mid-Summer Classic in Denver.
But on his final start to the season, Walker stepped back in time in the spring – for most of his evening. Before packing up his locker for the winter, Walker threw a quality start that should keep him optimistic as the offseason approaches.
Unfortunately, as has been the case since July, Walker failed to secure the victory. In this case, it didn’t even matter how well he pitched.
A streak of hits in the eighth inning propelled the pesky Marlins to a 3-2 victory, a game the Mets controlled for most of the game.
The Mets’ 83rd loss, their last second-half loss, was a microcosm of their season in general. After leading for so long, late mistakes doomed the late team. This not only applies to that loss to Miami, but also reminds fans of how the Mets were once a first-place team for over 90 days earlier this season.
Setting a season high with 7 1/3 innings pitched, Walker allowed two runs to cross the plate. While he left the match to a standing ovation allowing no runs on just two hits and three walks, it was the two runners he put on base to start the eighth that ultimately doomed his. chances of securing his first victory since July 3.
The fact that Walker didn’t get a win in that game is even more shocking considering how focused he was in seven frames. The only Marlins affected during this period was a Alex jackson single in the third inning, who quickly retired on a bunt to the ground by Elieser Hernandez. Jazz Chisholm, Jr. has also reached base on three occasions, via a defensive error and two walks. Otherwise, # 99 was perfect and was well on its way to having its best start since May.
Unlike many Jacob of Grom debut, in which the dominant pitcher failed to secure a victory due to a lack of running support, the Mets provided more than enough offense to save Walker’s stellar pitching line.
With Walker, everything looked good for the boys in orange and blue. Even after opening with an eighth allowing for a brace and a walk, with one strikeout recorded in between, things looked upbeat for Walker in his pursuit of his eighth win in 2021.
After Walker left his last start of the season, Seth lugo (3.50 ERA tonight) entered the game looking to bail out his starter. But a double by Alex Jackson and a single by Miguel Rojas quickly eliminated any chance that Walker would land in the win column.
Before Rojas got caught in a pickle to end the inning, the Marlins had scored their third run of the inning and their second at bat. All of a sudden, not only was Walker’s shutout gone, but so were his hopes of actually finishing 2021 at the top.
The score would remain the same until the ninth inning, when the Mets had their last chance. Unlike last night, when James mccann finished things with a walk-off, Wednesday did not bring such joy.
New York lost 1-2-3 in its last frame, with the last punch being a Jonathan villar strikeout to officially close the Mets’ penultimate game.
Many fans may wonder why a weekend match at the end of September between two non-competitors matters the least. No playoff involvement is involved and at this point the focus is likely on the next six months called free agency.
But seeing Taijuan Walker clinch a victory after such a difficult second half would have been one of the best scenarios for the Mets in an otherwise declining year. When asking for the smallest wins is still too much for a baseball team, it’s a sure-fire sign that a complete organizational change is needed.
The hearts and souls of thousands of New York City baseball fans – the same Metropolitan baseball team we so passionately root for – will officially go into hibernation mode after around 10:00 p.m. tomorrow night. If there was one almost laughable way to end the 2021 calendar, this debacle against the Marlins is exactly this.
Hopefully Thursday brings some good news to officially put 2021 on the books.
Obviously to Taijuan Walker who gave all his heart during his last appearance of the season.