Mariners Analysis: Taijuan Walker Owns The Cleveland Indians
By Adam Levi
It’s too bad Taijaun Walker doesn’t get to face the Cleveland Indians every night.
When the opposing team’s broadcast crew can’t stop talking about how good your teams’ pitcher is, that’s when you know he’s made it; Taijuan Walker has definitely made it. During his six innings of six punch-out, three hit, no walk, no earned run ball last night, Cleveland Indians broadcasters, Matt Underwood and Rick Manning were never short of complaints for the skilled right-hander, even suggesting he will be the next Felix Hernandez for the Mariners.
Their praise was absolutely justified, not just because of the promise Walker showed in his first full season as a starter last year, but more so due to the fact that they have seen, first hand, how good this kid can be when he gets it going. It just so happens that he brings his A-game every time he plays the Indians- tonight was more of the same.
An economical first inning started the evening off right for Walker, who took down the side in order and tallied his first strike out. In the top half of the second, The Mariners’ Nori Aoki gave his team the lead by hustling his way to his second triple of the young season, bringing home two runs. This run support gave Walker enough of a cushion for the rest of his outing, but also cursed the Indians who are now 1-5 on the year when allowing their opponents to score first.
After retiring the first batter in the second, Walker gave up the hardest hit ball he would surrender all night- a double to left-center by Carlos Santana– which was nullified by two ground-outs to end frame. In the third, double-trouble reared its head again, but a fielder’s choice, a sacrifice fly by Jason Kipnis (bringing in an unearned run off a fielding error by first baseman Adam Lind) and a ground-out, kept the Mariners ahead by a run going into the next third of the game.
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In the middle innings Walker had few blemishes, barley grazing the tip of Santana’s jersey for a hit-by-pitch in the fourth and a single down the third base line by Francisco Lindor in the bottom of the sixth. Just as he did during the rare times there was a runner on base, he dismissed the following batters and left Lindor and Santana stranded at first, capping off another stellar showing against the Indians.
It’s official; after last night’s impressive performance by Taijuan, he now has three wins in three starts versus the Tribe, making them the only team he has beaten three times in his short stint in the majors. He has dominated in each of those three starts, bringing his three-game average to look more like video game numbers. His ERA against the Indians is a jaw-dropping 0.45, his WHIP, an MVP-like 0.750 and to top it all off, his strikeout to walk ratio is 20 to 2. Walker must be thinking, “Why can’t I face the Indians every game?”.
Next: Cano Powers the Mariners in Win Against Indians
The Mariners face the Indians next on June 7th-9th at Safeco Field in Seattle. If the phenom pitcher is given another chance to face his favorite foes, the Indians will assuredly have to slug there way through another masterful showing by the talented Taijuan Walker.