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Spring Training Gameday Thread, #6: 2/27 vs. Giants

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Taijuan Walker makes his spring debut, after a post-season to forget.

Arizona Diamondbacks Photo Day Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Diamondbacks line-up

  1. Rudy Flores RF
  2. Chris Owings 2B
  3. Ketel Marte SS
  4. Yasmany Yomas LF
  5. Cesar Puello DH
  6. Kevin Cron 1B
  7. Ildemaro Vargas 3B
  8. J.R. Murphy C
  9. Kris Negron CF
    + Taijuan Walker P

In the unlikely event you had forgotten, Walker threw fewer innings in the 2017 NLDS than David Hernandez. His start lasted exactly one inning, involved four hits, two runs and an ERA of 36.00. That’s not exactly the final memory you want to have of a 2017 season which was, in reality, not bad at all. Walker had a 137 ERA+ and 2.7 bWAR in his first season after being traded here from the Mariners. But any fan confidence was largely erased by that dark October evening in Dodger Stadium, when Walker chose the worst possible time to deliver the second-shortest outing of his major-league career, in Game 1 of the NLDS. He’s basically back to zero, in terms of fan goodwill.

It’s interesting how being in the post-season acts as a “force multiplier” in terms of fan perception. We saw this with the T*ny W*m*ck situation in the top 50, where his (undeniably fine) performance in the 2001 playoffs was seen by quite a few as more than countering his barely replacement level by bWAR play over 629 regular season games. Conversely, until that same season, Randy Johnson had a reputation for “choking” when it mattered most, sporting a 2-6 record, despite being a three-time Cy Young winner to that point. I’m just hoping that Walker gets a chance at redemption in 2018: ideally, beating the same Dodgers in the same location. That path starts this afternoon in Scottsdale.