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Preview, #67: Arizona Diamondbacks @ Detroit Tigers

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Taijuan Walker returns to the rotation. It has been a while. At least he won't have to worry about batting today.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS DETROIT TIGERS
Gregor Blanco - CF Ian Kinsler - 2B
David Peralta - DH Alex Avila - C
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Miguel Cabrera - 1B
Jake Lamb - 3B Victor Martinez - DH
Chris Owings - RF J.D. Martinez - RF
Brandon Drury - 2B Justin Upton - LF
Chris Herrmann - LF Nick Castellanos - 3B
Chris Iannetta - C Andrew Romine - CF
Nick Ahmed - SS Jose Iglesias - SS
Taijuan Walker - RHP Jordan Zimmermann - RHP

Roster move made in order to accommodate Walker, with Silvino Bracho getting another stamp on his Greyhound loyalty card, and returning to Reno for the nine-millionth time (approximately) this year. According to Torey Lovullo, Randall Delgado will be back in the bullpen, with Patrick Corbin retaining his role. I'm not certain this is going to be the best solution. Corbin's first start will be against the woeful Phillies, which should help - but unless the team then skips him in the rotation, the next scheduled appearance is going to be in Colorado against the Rockies. That could end up being the equivalent of putting him through a wood-chipper.

For now though, let's worry about Walker and his blister. It has kept Taijuan out of action for close to four weeks, his last outing being six shutout innings in San Diego. There have been a couple of announced return dates which were not met since, but I can understand the team being cautious: this is the kind of problem that, if not completely fixed, can end up recurring and becoming a chronic issue (see Hill, Rich). Length has been a bit of a problem this year for Walker: he has only recorded an out past the sixth inning in one start, going eight frames, again versus the Padres, in his last outing of April. One wonders if the blister was also involved in a K:BB for May of 13:11, compared to April's 33:7.

It's not long ago that facing Jordan Zimmermann would be a fraught task. From 2011-14, he had a three ERA, eighth-best in the majors among all pitchers with 500+ innings. But over the season-plus since moving to Detroit, on a five-year $110 million contract, he has had a 5.20 ERA. This year, it's been even higher, at 5.72, and FIP suggests he's been lucky it's this side of six. This will show you how far Zimmermann has fallen. In 2014, he had a K:BB of 182:29. This season so far, the same stat is 42:22. He has given the Tigers quality starts his last two outings, so may be somewhat "fixed". But I'd not mind seeing the down-turn continuing.