Taijuan Walker continues to impress the baseball world as he picked up his team-leading 15th win of the season on Monday as the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the San Diego Padres 9-7.
Philadelphia’s offense made sure they supported Walker as they jumped out to an early 8-1 lead after three innings. The 15 wins is a new career-high for Walker and don’t be surprised if he continues to add to that win total as the regular season is nearing an end.
Taijuan Walker Racking Up The Wins
He went five innings giving up four earned runs and struck out four against the Padres. Not his best outing, but he was able to hold the Padres just enough during those five innings of work.
“Not the best,” Walker said in an article from NBC Sports Philadelphia. “We had a big early lead and I feel like today should’ve been one of those days where I went at least six, seven innings.”
Phillies manager Rob Thomson has enjoyed watching Walker go out there and battle each time he takes the mound.
“Other than the walks, walking into some jams and worked himself out of it,” he said. “He just competes. There’s a reason why he’s got 15 wins. He just wills himself.”
It was Walker’s second consecutive win as his record improved to 15-5 with a 4.15 ERA, moving within one win of the NL lead held by Chicago Cubs pitcher Justin Steele and Atlanta Braves ace Spencer Strider.
The 31-year-old became the eighth Phillies pitcher to record 15 wins in the last 23 years. He’s also the first Philly to win 15 games since Aaron Nola won 17 back in 2018.
In his first year in Philadelphia, Walker wasted no time becoming one of the top pitchers not only on his team, but in the National League.
The Phillies are benefitting from signing him last December. Our MLBbro has always had the skill set to be an effective pitcher and we are seeing that this season.
A big reason for Walker’s success this season has been his health. This has allowed him to continue to make scheduled starts throughout the season and Walker is taking full advantage of that.
One area for improvement with Walker is the number of runs given up in the first inning. He’s allowed 21 runs in the first inning throughout his 27 starts and he has 6.75 ERA in the first inning and a 3.58 ERA in the innings after.
“It is important,” Thomson said. “I don’t know whether we switch up his pregame routine or what. The last couple of weeks we’ve given up first-inning runs a lot. I don’t know what that is, whether it’s just a blip on the radar or something in our process we need to change. We’ll look at it, for sure.”
Philadelphia has a good chance of making the Wild Card this year and potentially making another trip back to the World Series.
And you better believe Walker will look to play a key role in the postseason. Walker has only appeared in the postseason once, which was in 2017 with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
But if he can perform come playoff time like he has been during the regular season, he will be able to put the Phillies in position to win games. And everyone knows that each game is vital in the postseason.
It will be interesting to see where the Phillies decide to place Walker in the starting rotation once the postseason comes, but you better believe Walker will be ready when his number is called upon.