Phillies’ bullpen ruins rare impressive Taijuan Walker start in London Series loss

It was some tough luck for Walker and the Phillies with a rare hiccup by the usually dominant relief corps.
St. Louis Cardinals v Philadelphia Phillies
St. Louis Cardinals v Philadelphia Phillies / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

Things haven’t come easy for Philadelphia Phillies' starter Taijuan Walker this season. After beginning the season on the IL with an impingement in his right shoulder, Walker has yet to find his footing this year despite sporting a 3-1 record.

On the year, he had produced only two quality starts, while struggling to a 5.73 ERA and 1.59 WHIP before this weekend's London Series against the New York Mets.

Phillies’ bullpen ruins rare impressive Taijuan Walker start in London Series loss

However, on Sunday, Walker was definitely on his "A" game as he cruised through the first five innings, holding the Mets to just a single hit with six strikeouts, with the Phillies staking him to a comfortable 3-0 lead.

Unfortunately, the usually reliable Phillies bullpen ended up failing Walker and ultimately ruined what was perhaps his best start of the season. After running into a little trouble in the sixth inning by allowing a couple of runners courtesy of a single and a walk, Walker was lifted after a job well done, and the ball was handed over to the stingy relief corps.

However, rather than bringing in the practically unhittable Matt Strahm, the Phillies elected to go with the baffling choice of Gregory Soto and his 4.91 ERA instead. Soto promptly gave up the game-tying hits to Brandon Nimmo and J.D. Martinez. As a result, all of Walker's hard work was thrown out the window, and he was handed another no-decision for his valiant effort while being charged with another two earned runs in his stat line.

The ultimate collapse would be complete when sure-handed closer José Alvarado blew the save in the ninth inning when he lost his command and control, leading to three Mets runs before the Phillies went on to lose 6-5. So instead of leaving the London Series with a sweep of their division rivals, the Phillies had to settle for a split.

As for Walker, the frustrations continue, as he wasn't rewarded for his best performance of the season on Sunday. Nevertheless, he'll look to build upon this impressive start with hopes of getting his season back on track and returning to the dominant form he flashed through parts of last season when he led the club with 15 wins.