Mariners Mondays – Welcome to the Show, Taijuan Walker
Walker, widely considered the Mariners most promising pitching prospect, made his Major League debut August 30 against the Houston Astros. Pitching in front of about 40 family members, Walker did them proud. He did not allow an earned run over five innings, and with the help of Dustin Ackley’s career best four hits and four RBI, the Mariners topped the Astros 7-1. With that win, Walker became the youngest Mariners starting pitcher (21 years, 17 days) to pick up a victory in his Major League Debut.
Walker’s next start September 4, against the Kansas City Royals was a test of his abilities. He did not allow a hit over the first three innings, but gave up four runs in the fourth inning. Walker returned to the mound in the fifth for a 1-2-3 inning. The bullpen held the Royals long enough for Kendrys Morales to hit a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth for the Mariners 6-4 win.
Start number three came September 9, again against the Houston Astros, this time at Safeco Field. Walker was in control this time giving up two runs and striking out eight over five innings. On a closely monitored pitch-count, Walker yielded to the bullpen, who held onto the lead until the ninth inning when Danny Farquhar gave up four runs, giving the Astros a 6-4 win.
Walker was shut down for the season after his third start, leaving fans anxious to see what he can do in the 2014 season. Heading into Spring Training, Walker is tentatively slated to be a member of the Mariners starting rotation.
Mariners Mondays Episode 3 airs Monday, January 20, beginning at 7:30 pm, right after Mariners All-Access.
Mariners Mondays episodes will air on ROOT SPORTS during the offseason and Spring Training, building to the March 31 season opener against the Los Angeles Angels.