Taijuan Walker takes the mound at 7:10 tonight, making his Safeco debut against the Houston Astros. Walker will be shut down after tonight's start, so it's our last chance to get a close look at the Fresh Prince until spring training next year.
There are no huge surprises with the Mariners' lineup, aside from Franklin coming back in at second and Ackley back in the swing of things in the outfield. Almonte gets moved to right with Ackley in center, and it seems pretty clear now that they have legitimately no idea who they want in center on the current roster. It's been pretty random out there for a while now, and you would imagine they are using each lineup to determine who has strengths where.
Taking the mound for the Astros will be their young phenom and resident creative name speller Jarred Cosart. Cosart took a no hitter through six innings in his major league debut against the Rays, and has since been dancing on that wonderful ballroom floor where signs of greatness intermingle with troubling tendencies. Cosart has a really good cutter, hitting 94.5 MPH, and he is ranked 2nd in ERA amongst rookie starting pitchers, behind only teammate Brett Oberholtzer.
But alas, he's only pitched in nine games all year, and while that 2.13 number is nice and shiny, he's kind of been all over the place. His xFIP has danced around from 2.67 to 6.82 and he seems to have a bit of a walk problem, averaging 4.75/9 on the year. Still, he's young, is pitching in his tenth game, and has averaged a groundball rate of 53.9% over his nine starts. Facing fellow rookie Taijuan Walker (who gets to carry his rookie tag into next season) should make for a great three hours of must-see baseball.