Tuesday, October 26 2021
Taijuan Walker in dugout black uniform looking on

Taijuan Walker in dugout black uniform looking on

Taijuan Walker gave the Mets five solid innings on Friday night, but if he had his way, he would have pitched deeper into the game.

The right-hander allowed just two runs on three hits through five innings, needing 88 pitches to get through his five frames. But as he prepared to bat in the bottom of the fifth with the Mets trailing 2-1, he was told by pitching coach Jeremy Hefner that his night was over.

After the game, Walker had some candid comments about wanting to stay in the game longer, and not having a chance to even plead his case to do so.

“I thought (my night) was good. Gave up a solo shot. The first run, bloop single over the first baseman, two fly balls, gave up three hits, I thought it was a good outing. I feel like I could have gone longer but it is what it is,” Walker said.

“There was no conversation. I didn’t get a chance to (lobby to stay in the game). They told me I was done after 88 pitches and I don’t make the call. That’s on them and it is what it is.”

“I feel like I was cruising,” he later added. “I gave up the solo shot in the fifth inning, but I really feel like they should have gave me a chance to go back out there for the sixth. It’s frustrating. I want to go out there and pitch and want to go as deep as possible. I know my second half hasn’t been the greatest, but in that moment, I feel like I should have gone back out for the sixth.”

The Mets instead turned to Aaron Loup in the sixth, and while he pitched a 1-2-3 inning, Seth Lugo allowed a run in the seventh and Brad Hand gave up another in the eighth, as the Phillies went on to win 4-3.

Afterwards, Luis Rojas explained what went into the decision to pull Walker at the time.

“90 pitches and then going into the third time through the lineup and Bryce Harper in the horizon,” said the Mets’ skipper. “Having Loupy available and two of the three lefties that he was going to see then, that’s why we went with Loupy for the sixth and he got the 1-2-3.

“We needed to keep the score at one, we were down one run, and I’m not saying that Walker would have done it, but it was probably Harper’s second to last time tonight at the plate … We had him face Loupy and then the next time face Hand, which is what happened there. We had to make sure that we neutralized him, and that’s what we did that inning. With our bullpen getting involved, we just couldn’t contain it.”

Rojas was also asked about Walker voicing his frustration with this decision, and he explained that he always wants his players to want to stay in the game and compete, even if they disagree with the coaches’ decisions.

“A guy like Walker always wants to stay in and compete, always. He takes it really personal when you take him out because he wants to compete and he feels that he is gonna beat the other team with whoever stands at the plate,” Rojas said. “I just explained the decision. When he came down he was getting ready to hit, but we were already talking about what we were going to do, and Hef gave him the news that he wasn’t coming back.

“Of course, he didn’t agree with the decision at the beginning … But he’s a guy that always wants to be there. He told us this in spring training, that he’s tough to take out. When you take him out of a game, he is going to react and in that moment he’ll let you know. I always respect that out of guys. Guys who want to stay in the game and want to perform for their team, those are the guys you want on your team.”

Source: Yahoo Sports

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