PHILADELPHIA — Taijuan Walker’s experience pitching in front of fans in the regular season over the past three years consists of one inning at the end of 2019.
The right-hander won’t get the complete home-opener experience Thursday, with only about 8,000 fans allowed at Citi Field, but he still anticipates nerves will be a factor for his Mets debut.
“I have just got to slow down the game and can’t be too amped,” Walker said Wednesday before the Mets finished their series against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. “Obviously I can use it to my advantage, but I have got to learn just to develop my own pace. It’s something that hurt me when I was younger, and as the game sped up I just kept getting quicker and quicker, so I am just taking it all in.
“Watching a guy like Jake [deGrom], when there is trouble, he really knows how to slow the game down, and that is what you have to do. I feel I have done a pretty good job of that.”
After just three starts in 2018, Walker underwent Tommy John surgery that cost him the remainder of that season and all but one inning in 2019. Last season, he returned to pitch…