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
As I mentioned in the recaps the other day, one of my favorite things is when a player beats up on the Yankees and then Yankees fans and/or the press that covers them begins to covet them.
Maybe they start talking up implausible trade rumors, such as they did a few years ago with respect to Felix Hernandez. Maybe they start talking about the player’s free agency clock and how long until they can be a Yankee, which they will inevitably be. If we’re extra lucky one of the tabloids will photoshop the player into Yankee pinstripes. Bryce Harper has gotten this treatment an awful lot lately.
I predicted that Maikel Franco would get such treatment after notching 10 RBI in two games in Yankee Stadium. He hasn’t quite gotten that yet, but he has gotten the next best thing. A trope that I neglected to mention the other day but one that is just as fun: tabloids talking about how such-and-such could’ve been a Yankee, except the Yankees were too dumb or too cheap or whatever to snag him. Mike Trout got this treatment recently. Franco got it yesterday:
The sight of Maikel Franco coming to the plate Wednesday at Yankee Stadium will strike fear in the hearts of Yankees fans.
The fact that he was almost a Yankee will break their hearts.
The Phillies rookie, who has tormented Yankee pitching in the first two games of their series to the tune of 10 RBI and three homers, nearly signed with the Yankees as an international free agent, but, according to one report, signed with the Phillies because they offered — wait for it — $5,000 more.
Brian Cashman has no recollection of this but doesn’t deny that it was possible, as anything is possible with Dominican free agents. But of course anything is possible with drafts and international signings and going back over them to see who could’ve gone where is an odd pursuit given the randomness and uncertainty of talent development in baseball.
You tend not to see this in markets besides New York. It’s an odd thing.
There’s a pretty cool comeback story in the works here …
Gutierrez didn’t play any sort of MLB-affiliated ball in 2014 after being diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis that primarily affects the spine and causes problems in many other joints. And he averaged just 58 games between 2011-2013 due to a variety of injuries. But the 32-year-old was slashing .317/.402/.500 with seven home runs and 31 RBI in 48 games this season at the Triple-A level and he is starting in left field and batting second Wednesday in his first major league game since September 27, 2013. Good for Guti.