Cursed Mets pitcher suffers a familiar fate in Yankees debut

Michael Tonkin needs to sleep with some crystals under his pillow.
Apr 1, 2024; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Michael Tonkin (51) reacts
Apr 1, 2024; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Michael Tonkin (51) reacts / John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Whose burial ground did Michael Tonkin build a backyard patio on? Twice designated for assignment by the New York Mets and once by the Minnesota Twins, he was recently claimed by the New York Yankees. He’s having a funky season most devastating by the MLB rules of allowing the ghost runner on second base to start each extra inning.

In appearances two and three for the Mets, both versus the Detroit Tigers, Tonkin ended up with a loss because he couldn’t handle himself in those games. He was charged with consecutive losses. Five unearned runs charged against him in the first and two earned plus one unearned in the second. Tonkin amazingly did pick up a victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers in his Mets return, but that appearance wasn’t anything to write home about. Two more earned runs against him in one inning of work plus his fourth hit batter of the year helped make him an easy DFA choice when Sean Reid-Foley was ready to return.

Debuting for the Yankees on Friday, the story was much the same.

Former Mets pitcher Michael Tonkin failed in extra innings twice in his Yankees debut

The Yankees took the lead in the tenth and asked Tonkin to get three outs in the bottom half. A passed ball on the first pitch moved the ghost runner up to third base. A single knocked him in. Charge Tonkin with another unearned run.

The Yankees failed to score in the top of the eleventh. Tonkin was asked to stay on the mound for another because apparently Aaron Boone likes to live dangerously. The result? One out and then a single to plate in the walk-off run for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Through 10.1 innings, 7 which came with the Mets, Tonkin has allowed 14 runs. Lucky for him and his agent, only 6 have been earned. It still gives him an unimpressive ERA of 5.23 for the season.

Tonkin’s wild ride looks like it could continue with a fourth team at some point or, dare we say, a return to the Mets. A part of his appeal is the ability to go multiple innings. If you’re not going to be able to get the big outs in extras, you’re basically a mop-up guy and those roles tend to fit better with a player who can be optioned to the minor leagues.

Oliver Drake, whose name appropriately sounds like an explorer, played for a record five different MLB teams in 2018. We’re not through April. Tonkin, if teams continue to have faith, could have him beat.