Taijuan Walker pitched well for Tacoma once again, but he couldn’t stop the Rainiers from dropping their sixth game in a row.
The offensive troubles were back: Tacoma lost 3-2, with the only runs coming on a pair of bookend homers: Abraham Almonte lead off the game with a homer, and Carlos Peguero hit one in the ninth inning.
Between the two homers, Tacoma managed just five singles. The Rainiers did not draw a walk until the ninth inning.
Walker was solid. He did not allow a hit until the fifth inning, and left after that frame having allowed just one run. He was limited to 79 pitches because he had pitched only one inning in the previous 12 days, due to the Futures Game and a Mariners-imposed slowdown. They are treating his workload very, very carefully.
Walker’s innings count is going to be a subject of increased discussion over the next few weeks.
He tossed a career-high 126.2 innings last year. The 20-year-old has pitched 105 innings so far this season.
While the Mariners are not saying what Walker’s innings limit is for 2013, you can safely figure it is somewhere between 140 and 150 innings.
Since he is only currently going five innings per outing here in Tacoma, you could guesstimate that he has seven or eight starts left. That would get him to the end of August (and the end of the PCL season, if he is still here).
If Walker starts getting deeper into games, and pitching six or seven innings, the number of remaining starts shrinks.
Note that this means the chance of a September call-up is slim – he will almost certainly be shut down by then, due to innings pitched. If Walker tastes the big leagues in 2013, it will probably be before September.
All that being said, it is important that the Mariners get Walker’s innings up near 150 this year if they are thinking that he might break camp in the starting rotation next year. That would set him up for an increase to around 175 innings for 2014 – which is needed for the longer MLB season.
Tonight’s game is at 7:05, and you can hear it on South Sound Sports 850 AM, streaming right here, and available via the TuneIn app for iPads and smart phones. Tacoma starts RHP Blake Beavan (3-3, 5.18) against Fresno LHP Michael Kickham (3-5, 4.81).
- The Rainiers game story from The News Tribune has quotes from Tacoma manager John Stearns about Taijuan Walker‘s performance last night. Stearns also explains why Tacoma closer Logan Bawcom was used in middle relief.
- Brad Miller hit his first two major league homers, and the Mariners won their fourth in a row on Friday night in Houston.
- The Mariners will listen to trade offers, Ryan Divish writes. But Raul Ibanez doesn’t want to be traded.
- Congratulations to PCL home run leader Brock Peterson, who was called up by the St. Louis Cardinals today. He was a 49th round draft pick in 2002 out of W.F. West High School in Chehalis, and this is the first call-up for the 29-year-old. He was hitting .306 with 22 homers and 66 RBI for Memphis.
- Tacoma still leads the Pacific-North by one game, because Sacramento annihilated second-place Salt Lake yesterday, 18-7. Luckily, the Bees were reminded that it’s a kids game. The Salt Lake Tribune published it’s 20-years-of-Bees team.
- Colorado Springs failed to gain on both Tacoma and Salt Lake – the Sky Sox lost to Tucson in the tenth inning, 8-7.
- Ahhhh-ha-ha-ha! Las Vegas manager Wally Backman out-Brett-Butlered Brett Butler, beating the Aces with a suicide squeeze in the ninth inning.
- New Orleans took down Nashville as Bryan Peterson continued his assault on the Zephyrs record book.
- Memphis split a doubleheader with Oklahoma City, and gets Chris Carpenter for a rehab start today.
- The Albuquerque Isotopes are purveyors of long baseball games, like their three-and-a-half hour 4-3 victory over Omaha last night.
- Round Rock rolled to a 10-4 win over Iowa last night.
Maybe this streak will end tonight? Please?