Thursday, March 26, 2015

Seattle's Taijuan Walker Extends Scoreless Streak to 18 Innings; Max Scherzer Fans Nine as Nats Fold to Cards

Players of the Day for Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Grapefruit League

Scherzer: 9 Ks
As noted by more than a few baseball writers, the Washington Nationals look to have one of the best starting rotations in recent memory, perhaps one of the best of all time.

The addition of Max Scherzer, dealt from the Tigers to the Nats in the off-season, brought the rotation to extreme prominence, adding to an already robust staff that includes Gio Gonzales, Doug Fister, Stephen Strasberg, and Jordan Zimmerman.

Scherzer, the 2013 AL Cy Young award winner, will likely assume the role of ace, or #1 starter, and work opening day of the regular season.

In what looked like his final tune-up prior to that opening day start, Scherzer had complete command of his pitches and the St. Louis lineup, fanning nine in Washington's 1-0 loss to the Cardinals. Scherzer allowed three hits and no walks in his six innings of work.

Aaron Barrett, working in relief, allowed the game's only run, surrendered to the Cardinals in the bottom of the eighth. While Washington will likely have few issues on the mound, they'll have to find ways to score runs if they hope to reach the pinnacle of success in the NL East.

Walker: 18IP, 0ER
Cactus League

During the course of the Cactus and Grapefruit pre-seasons, there have been some notable performances and fabulous flops, but no player has displayed as much cold determination and dominance as Seattle starter, Taijuan Walker.

Walker, who exceeded rookie requirements last year (53 innings total between 2013 and 2014), has been to the mound for five starts this Spring, and has not allowed a run in 18 consecutive innings. On Wednesday, he went up the hill for six innings of work in Seattle's 3-2 win over the Cubs, allowing two hits and a walk while fanning six. The Cubs didn't come close to scoring off him, and only put up a deuce in the ninth inning.

As far as domination is concerned, Walker is the poster boy for it. In 18 innings this Spring, in addition to not allowing any runs (earned or unearned), he's allowed only six hits and four walks, striking out 19, while holding opposing hitters to a paltry .103 average.

Walker is expected to solidify the Seattle staff, which includes Rafael Perez, Joe Saunders, and the King, Felix Hernandez.

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