Taijuan Walker on being pulled after five innings: 'I felt I should have gone out for the sixth'

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Mets manager Luis Rojas was recently criticized for pulling starter Marcus Stroman too early on Tuesday, after the righty had thrown 89 pitches in a loss to the Cardinals.

On Friday, Taijuan Walker was pulled after 88 pitches and five innings of work, having allowed two runs. Stroman defended the move on Tuesday, but Walker made it clear that the decision to take him out on Friday wasn’t one he agreed with.

“I felt good. I felt great tonight,” Walker said. “I felt like I did what I was doing, I was cruising. I gave up a solo shot in the fifth inning, but I really felt like they should have given me a chance to go back out there for the sixth. It’s frustrating. I want to go out there and pitch and go as deep as possible. I know my second half hasn’t been the greatest, but in that moment, I felt like I should have gone out for the sixth.”

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Walker came off the mound after the top of the fifth, expecting to grab a bat and get ready to lead off the bottom of the inning, but Luis Guillorme instead took his spot, grounding out before Aaron Loup came in out of the bullpen to relieve Walker.

“There was no conversation,” Walker said. “I didn’t get a chance to. They told me I was done after 88 pitches. I don’t make the call, it’s on them. It is what it is.”

Rojas explained the lefties due up in Philadelphia’s order in the sixth, including likely MVP Bryce Harper, as the reason to bring in the lefty Loup. The decision worked out, as Loup retired the side in order in the sixth, lowering his season ERA to 1.03.

“Ninety pitches, and going through the lineup the third time through the lineup and Bryce Harper on the horizon,” Rojas said when explaining the decision. “Having Loup available and two out of the three lefties he was gonna see then, so that’s why we went to Loup in the sixth, and he got them 1-2-3.”

It still wasn’t what Walker wanted, who felt he was going strong in an otherwise rocky second half to his All-Star season.

“It was good,” Walker said. “Gave up a solo shot my first run, bloop single...two fly balls, gave up three hits, thought it was a good outing. Thought I could have gone longer, but it is what it is.”

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