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Arizona Diamondbacks: Taijuan Walker uses all of his pitches against the Braves

By Joseph Jacquez
With his first major league homer Tuesday night, Taijuan Walker contributed with his bat. (Norm Hall - Getty Images)
With his first major league homer Tuesday night, Taijuan Walker contributed with his bat. (Norm Hall - Getty Images) /
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Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Taijuan Walker is putting up impressive numbers

Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Taijuan Walker is not the only pitcher to have recently experienced blister issues.

Los Angeles Dodgers’ starter Rich Hill has missed a lot of time because of a nagging blister. Possibly learning from how long the Dodgers chose to keep Rich Hill sidelined, the Diamondbacks training staff wanted to make sure Walker’s blister was fully healed.

The patient approach appears to have pay off. In four July starts, Walker is 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA in 24 innings pitched. The righty has struck out 22 and only walked four and opposing batters are hitting .209 against him. This month, the only knock on Patrick Corbin has been the long ball. After surrendering two home runs combined in May and June, four pitches have left the yard in July.

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Overall, Walker has deserved a better fate than his 6-4 record. On Tuesdaynight against the Braves, he received a no decision. Despite going six strong innings and allowing only one earned run (two total), the bullpen, defense and offense could not support him.

All-Star’s Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray have received most attention, but Walker has quietly stayed consistent all season. In his first season with the Diamondbacks, he recorded a 3.65 ERA in 14 starts before the break. In two second half starts, both against Atlanta, Walker allowed three earned runs in 12 innings pitched (2.25 ERA).

After Tuesday’s game, Lovullo talked about what he has seen since Walker came off the disabled list.

"He has had some really good outings since he came off the D.L. with the blister issue. It’s been a very lively fastball with an extra gear on it."

Using all his pitches

What he wasn’t doing was throwing all of his pitches and Lovullo told Venom Strikes he may have compromised to guard against the injury. Walker had a couple starts where he was trying to protect himself, and he was still getting by with a couple of quality pitches. Lovullo has praised Walker and his ability to recover.

"“Now, you are throwing a pitch in there in the change-up,” he said. “He’s been outstanding. He’s given us every opportunity to win the games that he’s thrown in and that is what we ask our guys to do. So, we love our starting pitchers. (Walker) is one-fifth of a very good starting rotation.”"

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