ATLANTA — For the second straight night, the Mets’ starting pitcher left the game after completing just two innings.
Taijuan Walker got through his two innings on Tuesday without giving up a run, but when the Braves came up to bat in the bottom of the third, R.J. Alvarez came running in from the Mets’ bullpen. Walker had thrown 32 pitches, walking two Atlanta hitters and giving up one hit.
The Mets announced later in Tuesday’s game that Walker left because of back spasms. While nothing appeared to be visibly wrong with Walker while he was on the mound, television cameras caught him wincing a bit after covering first base on what turned out to be his final play of the game.
“Covered first, foot down, got the ball, touched the bag,” Walker described the play. “I stood up, and as I was walking back to the dugout, I just started getting tight.”
Carlos Carrasco also left Monday’s game after two innings (including an extended rain delay) and landed on the 15-day IL on Tuesday with an oblique injury.
The start on Tuesday was Walker’s 21st of the year, third on the team behind Chris Bassitt and Carrasco. With Carrasco landing on the injured list, and Walker now dealing with his own situation, two huge pieces of the Mets’ season-long stability have taken a hit.
“I knew my job was to go as deep as possible and give the bullpen a break,” Walker said. “I felt like I was going to be able to go six-plus innings. It sucks, the timing couldn’t be worse.”
David Peterson will likely make some starts in the coming weeks, and long reliever Trevor Williams now stands a good chance of joining him in the rotation.
“I’ve never had back spasms before,” Walker revealed, saying that he doesn’t know how this typically goes. “I’m a little sore right now. We’ll see what they say tomorrow.”
Earlier this season, Walker missed two weeks with shoulder bursitis in his throwing arm. He was adamant about the fact that the back troubles only popped up after that play at first, repeatedly using the phrase “locked up on me.”
“I felt good, really good for the first two innings. I didn’t feel like I stepped wrong. I didn’t feel or hear a pop or anything. It just tightened up. It’s annoying, frustrating, yeah. I think we’ll be fine. We’ll get through it.”