Szapucki chased early with Mets' rotation in flux

May 26th, 2022

SAN FRANCISCO -- The injuries might finally be catching up to the Mets’ starting rotation. Making his first career start on Wednesday afternoon,  surrendered nine earned runs in just 1 1/3 innings as the Giants cruised to a 9-3 win in the finale of their three-game series.

San Francisco tagged Szapucki for four home runs a day after launching three against Chris Bassitt, who allowed a career-high eight earned runs in the Mets’ 13-12 loss on Tuesday night.

“Obviously, it sucks doing something like that,” Szapucki said. “But I was shown things I need to work on today and I'm going to get to work and be better."

Szapucki was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse before the game. In two big league appearances, the 25-year-old has allowed 15 earned runs in just five innings.

"[Szapucki] just never could get into a rhythm,” manager Buck Showalter said. “Command was an issue. You know he wanted to do well with the opportunity that he had. They were on about everything he threw."

With Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom and Tylor Megill all on the injured list, Szapucki could stay in the Mets’ rotation, at least for the time being. The good news is that Bassitt, Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker form a serviceable top three, with 26-year-old David Peterson also performing admirably in his four starts this season.

“There will be some opportunities,” Showalter noted. “It's part of the gig here. Nobody cares about our problems. They're glad we've got them.”

Peterson has certainly taken advantage of his opportunity, going 2-0 with a 2.16 ERA in five appearances this year. The tall left-hander limited the Giants to two runs on three hits in six innings Monday night, retiring the final 11 batters he faced.

Megill is nearing a return from his right biceps tendinitis and would further solidify the rotation until Scherzer and deGrom are healthy.

Regardless, Showalter is unwilling to make any excuses.

“It's not a topic of conversation,” he said. “It's not some slogan like, 'Next man up.' It's what we do."

In the meantime, the Mets will have to rely a little more on their offense, which produced 28 runs during the three-game series in San Francisco.

Francisco Lindor led the way this series with five extra-base hits, including two homers, and nine RBIs.

“If you look at our [statistical] categories across the board, he’s right there either leading or close to it in just about everything,” Showalter said.

The bullpen also stepped up Wednesday, with Trevor Williams, , and combining for 6 2/3 scoreless innings with eight strikeouts and just one hit allowed.

“That’s big for us to be able to get through those innings,” Showalter said of Williams’ 3 2/3 frames. “If Trevor doesn’t do that job, we’re using some guys that don’t need to be pitching.”

New York’s defeat snapped a franchise-best streak of 14 consecutive wins following a loss, just two short of the Major League record.

Still, at 29-17, the Mets have built a comfortable cushion atop the NL East, a 7 1/2 game lead over the Braves and Phillies. They will try to avoid their first three-game skid of the season when they host the Phillies on Friday to open a six-game homestand.