Aaron Loup finally got to drink his beer.
The 33-year-old — who in February said he was “more than willing” to take on the starting-pitcher role because “who wouldn’t want to be the guy to start the game and then get to sit in the clubhouse and drink a few brews on the back end?” — finally got his wish when he made his starting debut Sunday afternoon.
In the series finale against the Pirates at Citi Field, Loup “went for the whole starter experience” and it showed. He broke out his windup and pitched a perfect first inning, following it up with a second scoreless frame. When Loup exited the mound, the Mets were up 5-0.
Loup, usually a reliever, filled in for a depleted Mets rotation. In his first year in New York, he has become known for his consistency with only one earned run allowed in 15 appearances since May 27. In the 28 innings Loup has thrown this season, he has a 34:6 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 1.00 WHIP, stats he doesn’t seem particularly concerned about.
“To be honest with you, I don’t know exactly what my numbers are. I know I’ve pitched pretty well,” he said. “I just want to keep doing it and building on it and have a good second half as well because the first half don’t mean a whole lot if you don’t finish it off in the end.”
Despite Loup’s stunning debut, the Mets were unable to hold off the Pirates, losing 6-5.
“It hurts a little bit, but I think we’ll do all right,” Loup said. “We had a great first half, we’ve shown all year that we can battle back, that we stayed in games and fought back. It definitely hurts but I don’t think it’ll bother us. We’ve been playing some pretty good baseball, so I’m looking forward to the second half [of the season].”
The Mets signed Loup to a one-year $3 million deal after a successful season with the Rays in 2020. The only Mets pitcher with at least 25 innings pitched with a better ERA than the lefty is Jacob deGrom’s 1.08.
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