Thomas Szapucki finally got a chance to make his debut for the New York Mets on Wednesday against the Atlanta Braves. A guy many have viewed as a possible solution to the starting pitcher hole they’ve had for most of the season entered the game just as things were going from bad to worse.
Starter David Peterson struggled and left early with an injury. The first man out of the bullpen, Sean Reid-Foley, was even worse. He couldn’t get through his inning which led Luis Rojas to call upon Szapucki to stop the bleeding.
Over the next 3.2 innings of work, Mets fans got to Szapucki pitch in the majors. It wasn’t pretty. So ugly you’d rather go stag to the prom than show up with this outing, it was far from the best situation for a young man to add his name to the list of people who have played Major League Baseball.
This was a Mets debut we won’t recall with fond memories
Szapucki was far from the worst performer on the field in this game. Collectively, the offense had just four hits. This includes a leadoff double from Kevin Pillar and a two-run home run from Pete Alonso to put the Mets ahead 2-0 before the Braves even came to bat.
The fun times didn’t last long. Atlanta slapped back in the bottom of the first and then the headaches began.
Szapucki was asked to do something not many young pitching prospects are. Rather than allow him to get his feet wet and maybe pull a Dylan Bundy behind the mound if the situation is too big, the Mets left him out there to get beaten up by the Braves. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. In a world where pitchers are coddled, it’s interesting to see a different approach.
It was clear immediately that the Mets rookie may have been ill-prepared for the game. On the first play, he had a runner dead-to-rights between third and home. For a reason we can only explain as nerves, he ended up throwing to first for the out and allowing the run to score.
Szapucki took one for the team in this 20-2 loss. That’s right. A baseball score of 20-2 in Szapucki’s debut. At least the Mets managed to block the one extra point, right?
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This wasn’t the best way to end June—a month where the Mets’ weaknesses shined brighter but they still managed to stay in first place. The night may not have belonged to the orange and blue. Szapucki’s first appearance may not have been what he dreamed it would be many years ago in a Tom’s River backyard. Nonetheless, the team marches on and we wait to see what he has in store for us next time—hopefully in a better situation.