The Seattle Mariners are currently holding down the second Wild Card spot in Major League Baseball, and their top prospect’s last outing was his best as a pro. Taijuan Walker’s eight start of the year was of the complete game shutout variety.
Walker missed the first couple months due to injury, and some are surprised he is still in the minors, but if he keeps pitching the way he did Tuesday night, he won’t be for long. Against Okalahoma City, Walker got the complete game shutout on just four hits and one walk while striking out eight. So far this season, he has struggled to prevent runs, 14 earned in 30.2 innings pitched, but he has not struggled to get the strikeout, 29 in those 30.2.
The Fresno Grizzlies have recently had two of their best players promoted, Joe Panik and the leading home run hitter in the Pacific Coast League Adam Duvall, but they didn’t need much offense on Thursday. Mike Kickham took to the hill for the Grizzlies, and did his best Taijuan Walker impression. He didn’t quite get the complete game or shutout, coming two outs shy in his 8.1 inning outing. He allowed three walks but just two hits and struck out nine while not allowing a single member of the Salt Lake Bees to score.
Jimmy Nelson’s Friday night outing would be something worthy of note, had it not been for Walker and Kickham this week. Nelson merely went seven scoreless innings of three hit ball while striking out nine and walking two. This game actually managed to lower his miniscule ERA to 1.66 in the PCL this year, to go along with his 5.2 scoreless innings in the big leagues.
At the plate, Kris Bryant finally reached base on a hit that stayed in the ballpark. After his first five Triple-A hits all came via the home run, the Iowa Cubs took a trip to the altitude of Colorado Springs, and stopped hitting home runs, at least for now. He has five hits in the past three games, and none of them left the ballpark! He did manage three doubles out of the five hits. This gives him ten hits in 33 at-bats in Triple-A, and of those ten hits, five are home runs, three are doubles, and two are singles, giving him an .848 slugging percentage.
Domingo Santana had a night he won’t soon forget on Friday night. He was 3-4 with two runs scored when he stepped to the plate in a tie ballgame in the bottom of the ninth, and promptly ended the game. On the second pitch of the at bat, he went to the opposite field for a three run walk off job, giving him a 4-5 night with three runs scored and three RBIs. The four hit game gives him five multi-hit games over the past 10.
While there have been plenty of good outings recently, the PCL has also had a flurry of suspensions due to positive testes for banned drugs. Tacoma saw 2/3 of their outfield, Jabari Blash and Jamal Austin, earn 50 game bans. Tyler Ladendorf of the Oakland Athletics Triple-A club, Sacramento River Cats, also earned himself a 50 game suspension due to a positive drug test.
Tags: Adam Duvall Chicago Cubs Domingo Santana Jabari Blash Jamal Austin Jimmy Nelson Joe Panik Kris Bryant Mike Kickham Pacific Coast League San Francisco Giants Seattle Mariners Taijuan Walker Tyler Ladendorf