Joely Rodriguez #30 of the Mets pitches against Atlanta at Citi...

Joely Rodriguez #30 of the Mets pitches against Atlanta at Citi Field on Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022. Credit: Jim McIsaac

With his best changeup of the season, Joely Rodriguez changed up his results, too.

He handled 2  1⁄3 scoreless innings in the Mets’ 5-2 win over Atlanta on Sunday, a critical effort on a day when the bullpen was particularly shorthanded. That left Rodriguez figuring he’d be carrying a significant load.

“To be honest, yeah, the changeup today was the best I’ve thrown it all year. It was excellent for me,” he said through an interpreter. “Knowing that we played a doubleheader yesterday, I had that in mind, that I may be used for more than an inning. I started the preparation early on. With that focus, I was able to do my job.”

Rodriguez, the lone lefty among the Mets’ relievers, lowered his ERA to 5.12. He’s actually up to 4 1⁄3 shutout frames (with six strikeouts, one walk, one hit) across three appearances this month. Sunday was his first hold in more than a month and second since May.

“I’m just focused right now on doing the best that I can,” he said. “The same way that I’m expected to do my job, everyone else is also expected to do their job. What we really want to do is perform, go out there and continue to win games and provide to the best of our ability.”

Lucchesi update

If you were curious about Joey Lucchesi as a potential answer to the Mets’ lefthanded reliever question, know this: Buck Showalter is, too.

“It is something that has been [discussed],” he said Sunday afternoon. “I’ve asked about that topic. It’s always met with a pretty positive response. Who knows? We hope. There’s that potential. It’s another arm to think about. We got some other people in that thought process, too.”

Out since June 2021, when he had Tommy John surgery, Lucchesi is due to face hitters in the next week or two, general manager Billy Eppler said. Lucchesi said previously that he hoped to return to the majors by the middle of this month, but clearly that isn’t happening.

Walker OK

Taijuan Walker said his right hip is sore but he is good to go for his next start on Wednesday against the Reds.

Possible injury was a concern when he allowed eight runs and recorded three outs against Atlanta on Friday. He spiked a pitch when he caught his cleat in the ground, after which his hip seemed to bother him. But he said it was enough of a non-issue that he didn’t even get an MRI.  

Extra bases

Showalter on the Mets being on pace to break the modern hit-by-pitch record held by the 2021 Reds at 105: “I don’t want it. But I don’t know if there’s any way to keep from getting it.” . . . Cincinnati’s starting pitcher for the series opener Monday is Justin Dunn, a Freeport native whom the Mets traded to the Mariners as part of the Edwin Diaz/Robinson Cano deal in December 2018. Dunn will be making his season debut after missing more than a year because of shoulder problems (and then being assigned to the minors).