Mets: Taijuan Walker’s post All-Star struggles continue

New York Mets, Taijuan Walker
Jun 20, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Taijuan Walker against the Colorado Rockies at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets’ lead in the NL East is down to a game and a half, after Tuesday’s 5-4 loss to the Miami Marlins. It was their third straight loss.

In the middle of the struggles was, again, right-hander Taijuan Walker. His outing wasn’t a disaster – he conceded four runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings – but it was yet another disappointing start for the All-Star.

The Mets’ righty has allowed 15 earned runs in his last three starts, covering 14 2/3 innings. His season ERA stands at 3.86, but a few weeks ago, when he made the All-Star team, it was in the mid 2.00s.

Walker’s ERA in his last seven starts is 7.34, with a ghastly 1.66 WHIP. It’s clear he needs to get back on track for the Mets to have a chance at retaining their first place.

While Walker did retire nine of the last 10 batters he faced, the damage was done.

“I think I’m going in the right direction, honestly,” Walker told Newsday. “That third inning got away from me a little bit. But I felt good. I felt like I finished really strong at the end.”

The Mets need him to turn his season around

Home runs have been a problem for him recently. He allowed six in 16 games before the break but seven in his past three starts.

With the Mets currently going through an injury crisis at the rotation, they need Walker to be closer to his first half version.

The Mets currently have Jacob deGrom, Joey Lucchesi, Jordan Yamamoto, and Noah Syndergaard on the injured list.

The problem for Walker is that he was bound for some regression after a stellar first half. In fact, his current 3.86 ERA is almost an exact replica of his career 3.84 mark.

Which version of Walker will we see in the remainder of the season? It’s certainly one of the most important storylines of the Mets’ campaign.