Tyler Walker? The same Tyler Walker who began the season with an ERA of infinity? I guess so.
The Giants, behind Noah Lowry’s best effort of the season, Moises Alou’s big, two-out, two-run, sixth inning home run, and the afore-mentioned Walker took the rubber game of their weekend series with the A’s.
Walker earned his fifth save in a row, (so much for the bullpen-by-committee BS, eh, Felipe?), something this writer would have considered unthinkable a month ago:
…. Tyler Walker is pitching his way out of baseball, or at least into Herges-ville. After allowing a three-run home run to the first hitter he faced last night, he got the final out of the inning ~ his first out recorded in 2005 ~ to lower his ERA to an astronomical 108.00. He then got three outs in the next inning to bring his season line to 6 hits, 5 runs, 1 HR and 4 outs, which translates to a 33.75 ERA.
His season line, after today, actually looks like, well…. like a major-league pitcher’s line. Here’s then and now:
Then 1.1 IP 6 H 5 ER 1 HR 0 BB 1 SO
Now 20.1 IP 19 H 8 ER 2 HR 12 BB 12 SO
Since 19 IP 13 H 3 ER 1 HR 12 BB 11 SO
He had a streak of 12 straight games without allowing an earned run, and after his May 11th meltdown against the Pirates, he has been just this shy of perfect, 5.2 IP 0 H O R 1 BB 2 SO. He’s not getting many strikeouts, but he has seemed to embrace the pressure I spoke of when I suggested that Jason Christiansen might be the guy. Let’s see if Walker can keep this up for any stretch of time. Giants are 21-22, 5 games out.
UPDATE: Reader Mark notes that 25 baserunners in 19 innings ain’t no great shakes. True, but Walker seems to be all or nothing, so his totals look worse than his performance actually is. Looking at his game logs, he’s had two horrible outings, (7 of his 8 earned runs and 8 of his 19 hits), two in which he’s had no control, (7 of his 12 walks), and 15 pretty damn good ones. Last season, he struck out 48 and walked 24, so maybe it’s still early to look too closely at his rate stats; but just for the sake of argument, let’s imagine that he never made that first appearance. Forget about the walks for a second, –Hey, his name is Walker. Get it?– if you take away his first horror-show outing, his numbers look like this:
20.1 IP 15 H 4 ER 1 HR 12 BB 12 SO 1.80 ERA
Sure, his strikeout and walk numbers look a bit suspect, but no matter how you look at it, that ain’t hash. Just about a week ago, I wrote about the amazing start to the season Dustin Hermanson had put together for the White Sox. Here’s how Walker looks (minus his first appearance) against him and Joe Nathan, since I started this whole closer thing pining for the two ex-Giants:
Walker 20.1 IP 15 H 4 ER 1 HR 12 BB 12 SO 1.80 ERA 6 saves 0.80 K/BB 5.31 K/9IP
Dustin 20.1 IP 12 H 0 ER 0 HR 6 BB 15 SO 0.00 ERA 10 saves 2.14 K/BB 6.64 K/9IP
Nathan 18.1 IP 14 H 4 ER 0 HR 3 BB 21 SO 1.96 ERA 12 saves 7 K/BB 10.31 K/9IP
The point isn’t that he’s as good as these two guys. I know they blow him away in all of the important rate stats:
Walker 0.80 K/BB 5.31 K/9IP 8.41H/9IP
Dustin 2.14 K/BB 6.64 K/9IP 5.31 H/9IP
Nathan 7.0 K/BB 10.31 K/9IP 6.87 H/9IP
But these two guys have been among the very best in the league, and I was just sitting here wishing on a star that we had somebody who was capable of performing at anything even close such a high level, and somebody has. More walks, fewer strikeouts, sure, but not too shabby at all. Take away those two horrible appearances, and Walker looks like maybe baby. Add in Bonds’ appearance this weekend, the news that he’s off the antibiotics, the possibility that Alou’s finally starting to hit a little…. I don’t know, maybe the worst is behind us.