The Mariners had a pretty impressive little 2-1 victory over the Indians yesterday. In spite of being no-hit from the 3rd inning on, they were able to make those two runs they scored in the second inning work, thanks to rock solid pitching from Taijuan Walker and the bullpen.
Walker has been pretty remarkable through three starts this season. 6 innings each game, no more than 2 runs allowed. Overall, he’s gone 18 innings, with 3 earned runs, 2 walks, 15 hits, and 14 strikeouts. His pitch counts have gotten away from him a little bit, preventing him from going REALLY deep into games, but three quality starts out of three games is nothing to sneeze at.
Following Walker, Peralta threw another scoreless inning in his attempt to be known as a reliable reliever for this team. He was followed by Benoit and Cishek, who have looked great so far this year (aside from that one bad outing out of Cishek against the A’s).
This was an under-the-radar important win for this team. The Mariners are currently 2-5 in one-run games this year, which is obviously a bad sign in the early going. If this team is going to contend, it’s going to need its pitching to step up and be better than advertised. If we’re getting shoddy bullpen outings, or mediocre starts, we’re going to find ourselves pretty far down in the standings as the season goes along.
Taijuan Walker’s emergence is going to be critical for this team. As it looks more and more like Iwakuma and Miley are .500 pitchers at best, with Karns a total wild card, they’re going to need someone besides Felix to be dominant. It remains to be seen if Walker is going to take that step or not, but three starts in, you have to like what we’ve seen.