Mariners-Red Sox Preview
BOSTON -- Right-hander Taijuan Walker is expected to make his first start against Boston when the Seattle Mariners visit the Red Sox on Sunday in the three-game series finale.
Walker left Tuesday's start at Tampa Bay with a foot injury after 3 1/3 innings, giving up four runs (three earned) and three hits -- including two home runs. He took a no-decision in Seattle's 8-7 loss.
"It feels good," Walker told the Tacoma News Tribune. "I threw off the mound (Friday), 10 pitches, and it felt good. No pain. A little sore, but I'll be good for (Sunday)."
Walker said he believes the discomfort can be alleviated by fully taping his ankle.
"It helps a lot," Walker said. "It keeps it stable, especially when I have to cover first base or make any moves off the mound."
Mariners manager Scott Servais is cautiously optimistic Walker will be fully healthy.
"He says it feels better. But we'll see," Servais said. "It's kind of in the back of your mind that we may need someone who can carry a little extra length (on Sunday) if it does start barking on him again."
Walker, 23, is 3-6 with a 3.69 ERA.
Before his abbreviated outing in Tampa, Walker recorded his best outing of the season. He went eight scoreless innings against the Indians on June 8, allowing three hits with no walks and 11 strikeouts -- his second double-digit strikeout performance this season and first since April 25 when he struck out 11 Astros.
Walker has faced only one batter on the Red Sox roster. Chris Young is 0-for-2 against Walker.
After three straight losses, Red Sox left-hander David Price (7-4, 4.52 ERA) is looking to get back into the win column Sunday. He has thrown seven straight quality starts and is 3-3 with a 2.68 ERA during that span.
In his last three starts -- against Toronto, at San Francisco and versus Baltimore -- Price pitched 23 innings, allowing eight runs (seven earned) with 22 strikeouts.
In his last outing, against the Orioles, he went eight innings, allowing three runs with no walks and 11 strikeouts.
"That's the best I've felt with everything that I was throwing in however many starts I've made here, for sure," Price said. "I feel like that was the best stuff I've showcased so far, and I'll continue to get better.
"I'm better than three runs (allowed), I know that. That's what I've done my entire career. Whenever I get eight innings and three runs I'm not going to take that. I'll take my chances and go out there to put up nine zeros. I'm getting there. I know that. This team and this coaching staff has confidence in me and we'll continue to get better."
Price has faced Robinson Cano more than any other Seattle hitter, holding him to a .271 average with a home run, 11 RBIs and seven strikeouts in 70 at-bats.