New York Metsâ€™ starter Taijuan Walker has been perhaps the best addition to the team for the 2021 season. He finished the first half with a pristine 2.50 ERA in 16 starts and 90 innings. His 89 strikeouts and 1.03 WHIP confirm just how dominant he has been in a year the Mets had had to deal with a myriad of injuries to their pitching corps.
The performance was good enough to win a spot in the All-Star Game as a replacement, and he thoroughly enjoyed the experience from start to finish. It was the first time of his career he pitched in the Midsummer Classic.
The Metsâ€™ righty pitched the sixth inning, conceding a home run to Tampa Bay Rays slugger Mike Zunino and earning one strikeout.
He spoke with the media after his inning of work.
“I was super excited,” the Metsâ€™ hurler said to SNY’s Michelle Margaux. “I just had a big smile on my face the whole time.
“The red carpet was fun, watching Pete [Alonso] win the Home Run Derby and just standing on the mound and listening to my family scream for me and cheer for me. Just being a part of it, having the All-Star on my back…it’s pretty cool, just the whole experience of it.”
The Metsâ€™ star enjoyed his first Midsummer Classic
The whole experience was worthwhile, from pitching in the game to seeing the gameâ€™s brightest stars perform.
“Just hanging around guys, talking to them, seeing their personalities outside the baseball field,” Walker said. “Talking with [Fernando] Tatis [Jr.], [Manny] Machado, you know just a bunch of different guys that I wouldn’t ever really get to talk to because we’re competing against each other.”
Walker attributes his early success with the Mets to health.
“I just feel healthy this year,” Walker said. “Coming back last year, first year back from Tommy John and I throw really good. And then this year I just feel like I’m finally putting the pieces together.â€