Taijuan Walker’s promising spring training didn’t translate to the early part of the regular season, but he’s starting to look like the pitcher the Mariners have been waiting on.
Walker tossed seven innings of one-run ball last night as part of a 7-1 win over the Angels. The 22-year-old right-hander gave up a solo homer to Mike Trout in the first inning, but that ended up being the only damage against him all night. He scattered seven hits while walking none and striking out six. Charlie Furbush and Carson Smith combined for a scoreless eighth inning before Fernando Rodney got his first save in nearly a month.
As for the offense, Brad Miller and Nelson Cruz each had RBI doubles while Robinson Cano hit a solo home run. Could Cano finally be heating up? He has two homers over his last four games after hitting just two of his first 67 games combined.
Walker struggled to the tune of a 7.33 ERA and 39/23 K/BB ratio in 43 innings over his first nine starts this season, but he has made massive strides of late, especially with his control. He has 1.91 ERA over his last six starts to go with 44 strikeouts and just three walks in 42 1/3 innings. That’ll work.
Your Friday box scores and AP recaps:
Indians 3, Orioles 4
Nationals 5, Phillies 2
Rangers 2, Blue Jays 12
Braves 2, Pirates 3 (10 innings)
White Sox 4, Tigers 5
Reds 1, Mets 2
Red Sox 4, Rays 3 (10 innings)
Dodgers 7, Marlins 1
Cubs 2, Cardinals 3 (10 innings)
Yankees 3, Astros 2
Twins 4, Brewers 10
Mariners 3, Angels 1
Diamondbacks 2, Padres 4
Mariners 3, Angels 1
Rockies 8, Giants 6
Royals 5, Athletics 2
Ervin Santana is still serving out his 80-game PED suspension, but he’s permitted to pitch in the minors in preparation for joining the Twins on July 5 against the Royals. After a strong performance in his first start with Triple-A Rochester last Saturday, the veteran right-hander had his second start tonight:
Santana has allowed four runs in 12 2/3 innings with a 6/4 K/BB ratio over his first two outings. He will make one more tuneup start in the minors before his Twins debut.
After posting a 3.95 ERA over 31 starts with the Braves last season, Santana received a franchise record four-year, $55 million free agent contract from Minnesota over the winter. It’s been a long wait, but the surprising Twins (39-33) are hoping to get some bang for their buck over the final three months of the season.
Braves right fielder Nick Markakis saw his record errorless streak come to an end this afternoon against the Nationals when he bobbled a ball off the bat of Denard Span in the first inning. The error allowed Span to reach second base. You can watch the play here.
Markakis had gone 398 consecutive games without an error, the major league record for a non-pitcher. His last error came on August 10, 2012 as a member of the Orioles.
Markakis just set the record a week ago by passing Darren Lewis, who went 392 games without an error from 1990-1994 with the Athletics and Giants. It’s an interesting tidbit, even if errors only give us a very limited perspective on how good a defender actually is.
Archie Bradley has already been sidelined since June 1 with right shoulder tendinitis, but his road back to the Diamondbacks has hit a snag.
According to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com, Bradley returned to Phoenix to be evaluated following his first minor league rehab start with Triple-A Reno on Wednesday. The exact nature of the setback isn’t yet clear, but Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said “he didn’t feel that great” after the outing. He allowed three runs on six over four innings while striking out three.
Bradley made the Diamondbacks’ Opening Day rotation after a strong showing in spring training, but it’s been a been a rough rookie season for him, as he owns a 5.80 ERA and 23/22 K/BB ratio in 35 2/3 innings over eight starts. He had a stint on the disabled list earlier this year after he was hit in the face by a line drive.
Doug Fister tossed seven scoreless innings against the Braves this afternoon as part of a 7-0 victory. In addition to extending the team’s winning streak to six games, he helped Nationals’ starters set a new franchise record along the way.
As noted by Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com, Nationals starters haven’t given up a run in their last 41 1/3 innings. The streak started with Joe Ross against the Pirates last Friday and followed with Max Scherzer’s no-hitter on Saturday and seven scoreless innings from Gio Gonzalez on Sunday. It has continued this week against the Braves, as Stephen Strasburg threw five shutout innings Tuesday and Jordan Zimmerman turned in eight scoreless last night before Fister kept it going today.
The previous franchise record was set by the 1981 Expos, who had 39 consecutive scoreless innings. This is the longest overall streak in MLB since the 2008 Indians, who had 44 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings. Scherzer will start tomorrow night against the Phillies, so the Nationals have a pretty good chance to surpass that total.