Justin Wilson is still popular in Queens, even if he isn’t very well-liked in The Bronx at the moment.
After two strong seasons with the Mets, the left-handed reliever helped his former team more than his current one Saturday.
Wilson’s nightmarish season with the Yankees continued in the opener of the Subway Series, failing to retire a batter in the Mets’ 8-3 victory at the Stadium.
“It was some soft contact and then a walk, which obviously is not good,” manager Aaron Boone said. “It was coming out all right, and it’s not like he got hit overly hard. Obviously frustrating for him.”
The first five Mets reached against Wilson in the sixth inning as they broke the game open in his second outing since coming off the injured list on Wednesday due to a hamstring strain. Jeff McNeil, Jose Peraza and Brandon Nimmo all singled to load the bases. Wilson then walked Francisco Lindor to force in a run and Dom Smith plated two more runs with an opposite-field double to make it 6-0.
Wilson’s day was done, without recording an out, raising his ERA to an unsightly 8.79. He’s now given up 14 earned runs in 14 ¹/₃ innings this year — five fewer than he allowed across two years and 58 ²/₃ innings with the Mets. Mostly dependable during his career, the 33-year-old Wilson has either been injured or ineffective for the Yankees. He’s allowed more hits (17) than innings pitched, and has been scored upon in six of his previous 10 outings.
But Boone was nevertheless encouraged in what he has seen from Wilson in his last two appearances.
“His first time out the stuff was definitely different then what we saw prior to him going on the IL, and I thought the same was true today,” Boone said. “He’s got more life on the ball. He’s throwing harder. Obviously, a very frustrating outing, but he’s in a much better place physically than he was a few weeks ago.”
That is the hope. Meanwhile, the Mets have benefitted from letting Wilson sign with the Yankees. His replacement, Aaron Loup, has a 1.52 ERA and has been one of their bullpen’s strongest assets, performing like Wilson had for them in recent years.