The Mets bullpen has played historically well so far this season, and they may soon get another boost as injured righty Taijuan Walker widely impressed in his first rehab start on Wednesday.
Walker, who the Mets placed on the 10-day IL due to right-shoulder bursitis on April 12, played his first rehab start in extended spring training, where he took the mound for three innings, where he struck out 7 batters and allowed just 1 hit in 45 pitchers, per Britt Ghiroli of the Athletic.
The 29-year-old will rejoin the Mets for their series in Arizona against the Diamondbacks on Friday, April 22, and the team will decide then whether he can be reactivated into the lineup.
Walker suffered his injury after tossing 2 hitless innings in his first start of the season against the Philadelphia Phillies, where he struck out 4 batters in 30 pitches.
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His injury came just days after the team lost ace Jacob deGrom to a shoulder injury, which spelled trouble for the Amazins — but the bullpen has stepped up in the absence of the two men.
Newly-arrived Mets Max Scherzer and Chris Bassitt, who came to the team in the offseason, have led the team on the mound, throwing a collective 30 innings, and recording just 6 earned runs, while striking out 37 batters.
Righties Tylor Megill and Carlos Carrasco have also stepped up in their 27 innings, recording 2.20 and 0.84 ERAs, respectively.
The stats have dipped slightly in the last 2 games, but the first 10 contests saw the Mets starters throw a collective 1.07 ERA — which marked the best first 10 games of any pitching staff since the ERA stat began being recorded in 1913.
The team’s extraordinary start, which has propelled the Mets to a 9–3 record thus far, is more amazing considering the absence of deGrom.
According to manager Buck Showalter, the ace’s rehab has been “going really well,” and he will undergo an MRI on Monday to evaluate his progress — after which he could potentially begin throwing again.
It remains to be seen whether the team’s pitching staff can keep up their historic pace, but the re-additions of Walker and deGrom will undoubtedly provide an injection of solid arms, and potentially fuel the Mets’ current run.