Mariners notebook: Managing Taijuan Walker’s innings in the second half could be a challenge

Jul 7, 2015, 7:40 PM | Updated: Jul 8, 2015, 10:17 am
After throwing about 145 combined innings in 2014, Taijuan Walker is on pace for a big jump this ye...
After throwing about 145 combined innings in 2014, Taijuan Walker is on pace for a big jump this year. (AP)
(AP)

Taijuan Walker takes the hill tonight looking for his sixth straight win. Since May 29, Walker has gone 6-1 with a 1.68 ERA. He has not walked a batter in 27 1/3 innings, the fourth-longest streak in Mariners history behind Jamie Moyer (28 1/3), Hisashi Iwakuma (35 2/3) and Cliff Lee (38).

With Hisashi Iwakuma rejoining the rotation on Monday, Walker got bumped to Tuesday, giving him back the extra day of rest he lost when he and Roenis Elias were flipped on the last road trip. Rest and innings management could prove to be a challenge in the second half with Walker, who has already pitched 91 innings this year.

With two starts remaining before the All-Star break, Walker will be well over 100 innings at the start of the second half. Including rehab starts, simulated games and fall ball, Walker threw around 145 innings last year. Anywhere between 25-40 innings is a comfortable year-to-year innings jump depending on who you talk to.

The Mariners may need to get creative to keep Walker under either total if he continues to pitch the way he has been pitching. Something to watch in the second half.

Lineup!

Austin Jackson, CF
Franklin Gutierrez, LF
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nelson Cruz, RF
Kyle Seager, 3B
Mark Trumbo, DH
Logan Morrison, 1B
Mike Zunino, C
Chris Taylor, SS

Taijuan Walker, RHP

Notes

• We got a bit of a James Paxton update as we were told he is progressing and is now playing catch from 75 feet. He still has a long way to go but it is a positive sign that he is still throwing.

• Danny Hultzen has also been throwing for some time since being shut down with shoulder fatigue in May. This was semi-planned as the Mariners knew there would be times in his comeback this year that they would need to shut him down for a couple of weeks to keep him pitching through the year. This obviously was a longer shutdown but he is throwing bullpens and expected to throw a short simulated game in Arizona on Wednesday. If all goes well he could make a start next week in the Rookie League.

• Jesus Montero will participate in the Pacific Coast League All-Star home run derby, which will take place Monday at Werner Park in Omaha, Neb.

• I will be holding a live chat Wednesday starting at 12:45. I will not do a notebook so if you have questions, the chat will be the best place to get a response. The link to join in on the chat can be found here.

No starting pitcher.

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