Thomas Szapucki’s long road to the majors hit as big a block as possible upon reaching its peak.
The 25-year-old left-hander’s first-ever MLB start couldn’t have gone much worse on Wednesday afternoon in San Francisco, allowing nine runs in just 1.1 innings of work before getting the hook.
Szapucki allowed four home runs in that span – two of them to Evan Longoria and another Joc Pederson, who hit three home runs and drove in eight on Tuesday night in a wild 13-12 Giants win over the Mets.
In a 10 at-bat span, Pederson put up an unfathomable four home runs with 10 RBI.
Desperation forced the Mets to turn to Szapuck to make his first career MLB start in San Francisco. Jacob deGrom and Tylor Megill were joined on the injured list last week by Max Scherzer, who will be out six to eight weeks due to a left oblique strain.
The Mets had already recalled David Peterson from Triple-A – and he has been superb in his sporadic outings in the majors this season with a 2.16 ERA over five outings (four starts).
Meanwhile, reliever Trevor Williams had been called upon to work as an opener, but did so on Saturday night in Colorado against the Rockies; thus ruling him out to get the ball on Wednesday.
However, he was called into work on a short rest as a long man out of the bullpen after Szapucki’s debacle.
The call to promote the Toms River, NJ native was an understandable one after posting a 2.86 ERA across 22 innings of work in Triple-A. Granted, a lengthy start wasn’t promised considering Szapucki’s innings load was scattered across seven starts.
Still, his introduction as a starter had been an anticipated one that was years in the making.
A highly-touted prospect that was drafted in the fifth round by the Mets in 2015, Szapucki has constantly dealt with injury issues that derailed his development in the minors.
He missed 2016 and 2017 due to Tommy John surgery while his 2021 campaign ended early when he was forced to undergo ulnar nerve transposition surgery.
He made his MLB debut out of the bullpen on June 30 last season during a 20-2 blowout loss against the Atlanta Braves.