Right-hander Taijuan Walker hasn’t had the All-Star career projected for him when he was a first-round draft pick a decade ago.
The 6-foot-4, 28-year-old has a 33-33 record with a 3.95 earned run average and a 1.246 WHIP in 102 games (99 starts). And most recently, he lost most of two seasons while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Walker, however, would be a Cy Young Award winner if he pitched only against the San Diego Padres.
Walker has made five starts against the Padres in his career. He has a 3-1 record with a 1.33 ERA and a 0.593 WHIP against the Padres, who have hit .135 against Walker with a .183 on-base percentage and a .247 slugging percentage. Walker has pitched a total of 27 innings against the Padres, allowing four runs on 12 hits and four walks against 28 strikeouts.
Walker (2-2, 4.00 ERA) resumes his efforts against the Padres Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego, where the Padres will start right-hander Dinelson Lamet (2-1, 1.89 ERA).
Petco Park … did we mention that Walker is 2-0 in two starts at that stadium and has allowed no runs on three hits and three walks with 10 strikeouts in 12 innings?
Perhaps the best thing the Padres have going for them is that much of their cast will be facing Walker for the first time in a Padres uniform.
And then there is Lamet. The 28-year-old has been the Padres most productive starting pitcher thus far this season.
The Padres are 4-2 when Lamet starts this season. He has given up seven runs on 17 hits and 11 walks with 45 strikeouts in 33 1/3 innings. Twice in his six starts he has taken a no-hitter into the second half of the game.
Opponents are hitting .147 against Lamet this season with a .242 on-base percentage and a .259 slugging percentage — numbers that parallel Walker’s success against the Padres.
Lamet has a .206 career opponents’ batting average. He is 1-0 in his career against the Mariners.
“We love his attitude,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler recently said of Lamet. “He doesn’t want to give up a hit, ever to anyone.”
The Mariners, however, are on a bit of a roll. They won a fourth straight game Tuesday night in the opener of the three-game series — ending the Padres seven-game winning streak. The Mariners have won five of their past six games after losing seven in a row.
Seattle is a young, rebuilding team.
“The energy has been great,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said of his team’s recent run. “We have a lot of young guys with a lot to prove. So they come to the ballpark every day looking to get better and seeing what we’re going to throw on their plate.
“Honestly, anything is possible for any team that gets hot in this short a season.”
The Mariners are hot. And tonight they’ll have a pitcher with a great track record against the Padres taking the mound at Petco Park.
–Field Level Media