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Preview #130: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Francisco Giants

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Will Taijuan Walker ever win a game again?

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at New York Mets Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Denard Span - CF David Peralta - LF
Hunter Pence - RF Chris Iannetta - C
Jarrett Parker - LF A.J. Pollock - CF
Buster Posey - C Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Brandon Crawford - SS J.D. Martinez - RF
Pablo Sandoval - 3B Brandon Drury - 2B
Joe Panik - 2B Adam Rosales - 3B
Ryder Jones - 1B Ketel Marte - SS
Madison Bumgarner - LHP Taijuan Walker - RHP

Taijuan Walker last won a game on June 21. Over the ten games since then, he hasn’t pitched that badly: a 3.92 ERA would generally give you a fairly decent shot at winning any individual start. But Walker is winless, having gone 0-4 with six no-decisions (the D-backs as a whole are 3-7 in those contests). This isn’t anywhere close to the longest winless streak in team history - we’ll get that in a bit. There have been seven longer, in fact, but almost all of those have, at least in part, been on losing Diamondbacks’ teams. It’s a lot harder to go ten consecutive games without getting a win, when your team is in contention.

Indeed, of the 13 Diamondbacks’ starters who reached winless double-digits, only two were even partially members of our playoff teams. Joe Saunders won on September 21, 2010, but then not again until May 24, 2011. But that pales into insignificance beside the all-time D-backs winless streak champion. That belongs to Brian Anderson, who went seventeen consecutive regular-season starts without getting the W. And remarkably, he did that on two of the best teams in franchise history, the World Series champions in 2001, and the sequel, when Arizona won 98 games.

It deserves an asterisk in both directions. For Anderson did win a game in the 2001 post-season. But it wasn’t as a starter, instead for throwing 3.1 innings of relief in Game 4 of the NLCS against Atlanta. [He also had a relief W after being moved to the bullpen in the last month of the regular campaign] On the other hand, he took the L for Game 3 of the World Series in New York, his only post-season start that year. So his record is actually 18 consecutive starts without a W, covering almost an entire season. He took the victory on July 22, 2001 and didn’t do so as a starting pitcher again, until June 5 the following season. So Taijuan Walker is barely half-way there to this point...