Much like many Mets fans watching at home, Taijuan Walker couldn’t hide his shock after learning of Buck Showalter’s gutsy call to have Edwin Diaz pitch the eighth and ninth innings of Thursday’s contest.
Moments after Diaz had retired three Braves hitters in order in the top of the eighth, cameras captured the dominant closer exchanging a few words with Mets pitching coach Jeremy Hefner and walking past Walker as he headed into the clubhouse.
Walker turned to Hefner and seemingly asked whether Diaz was done pitching for the night. The answer – no – certainly surprised the starting pitcher, and his hilarious facial expression says it all.
Showalter’s decision to stick with Diaz paid off as the All-Star reliever finished the Mets’ 6-4 win in the ninth. After surrendering a single to Eddie Rosario to lead off the inning, Diaz was able to escape trouble and induce a check-swing grounder off the bat of Orlando Arcia to record the final out.
Diaz’s night came to a close after throwing 28 pitches, an abnormally high amount that Showalter was OK with because of the closer’s five prior days off.
“Taijuan is saying, ‘Hey, I want him tomorrow,” Keith Hernandez quipped in the SNY broadcast booth, sending the room into boisterous laughter.
It seems Walker is just fine with not having Diaz available in relief: He retweeted Thursday’s now-viral moment alongside two sweat-smiling emojis. The 29-year-old will take the mound Friday night for the second game of the Mets’ five-game series against the Braves at Citi Field.