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Preview: Mariners (54-51) at Astros (43-62)
BT Movements  ·  Line Movements
Game: 2
Venue: Minute Maid Park
Date: August 30, 2013 8:10 PM EDT
  

HOUSTON (AP) - Top prospect Taijuan Walker will make his major league debut for the Seattle Mariners on Friday, taking on the Houston Astros less than three weeks after turning 21.

It's quite the impressive feat for Walker, who was selected in the first round of the 2010 draft. But the talented right-hander is a bit behind the pace of teammate Felix Hernandez, who pitched in his first major league game at age 19.

Walker, who started the season at Double-A Jackson before being promoted to Triple-A Tacoma, got a welcome and a hug from Hernandez on Thursday. Hernandez hadn't had time to chat with Walker yet, but the ace was ready if the youngster asked for any advice.

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"You've just got to be relaxed, and after you throw the first pitch everything's going to go away," Hernandez said.

Walker, who is thought to be among the top prospects in the sport, says he knows he'll be nervous in the first inning, but hopes he calms down after that.

He went 4-7 with a 2.46 ERA in 14 starts at Double A and 5-3 with a 3.61 ERA in 11 starts in Triple A. He was dominant in his last two starts, going 2-0 with a sparkling 0.82 ERA.

General manager Jack Zduriencik said there were many factors that went in to bringing him up, but discussions with minor league pitching coaches convinced him Walker was ready.

"This kid's got great stuff, he's a fabulous athlete," Zduriencik said. "He's done a really great job maturing, growing up, handling the things given to him this year and you just make a decision on what you think is best for him and the organization."

Walker went through some struggles last season in Double A, and said he spent the early part of this season working on refining his pitches.

"I worked on fastball command and my secondary pitches," he said. "I spent the first month just really, really trying to work on them hard and I struggled pretty bad. But it wasn't about the wins and losses, it was mostly about just working on the pitches and working on the fastball command."

The work paid off and Walker steadily improved throughout the season. Manager Eric Wedge loves Walker's confidence and said he's mature beyond his years.

Wedge's expectations for Friday are simple.

"I just want him to go out there and ... be himself, enjoy the experience and have fun," Wedge said. "Hopefully he'll be able to allow himself to relax and just have fun with it. That's the best way to have early success is just to relax and have fun with it and just really enjoy the moment."

Walker has family flying in from California and driving in from Louisiana for Friday's game. He expects to have a personal cheering section of about 30 people when he takes the mound.

"I'm glad I get the opportunity to come out and pitch in the big leagues and have my family out there," he said. "A lot of them haven't got to see me pitch yet, so it's going to be pretty exciting. You'll probably hear my mom; she'll be the loudest person in the stands. You guys will definitely hear her."

Seeing Walker prepare for his first start caused Hernandez to reflect on his debut in Detroit eight years ago. He said it was a special moment and he hopes Walker's will be just as memorable.

"He's pretty good," Hernandez said. "I can't wait to see what he does."

The Astros (44-89) will counter Walker with Brad Peacock (3-4, 5.67), who is 2-1 with a 2.88 ERA in four starts since being recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

The rookie right-hander struggled in his latest outing, however, allowing four runs and two homers in 5 2-3 innings of Saturday's 8-5 win over Toronto.

Peacock beat Seattle 8-3 with five innings of three-run ball April 10 before surrendering seven runs and three homers while being pulled with one out in the fifth inning of a 7-1 loss in Houston 12 days later.

Seattle (60-73) ended a six-game losing streak in the opener of this four-game set Thursday night, winning 3-2 to send Houston to its third straight defeat.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

 SERIES AT A GLANCE
GAME 1
Mariners at Astros
Thu, Aug 29 Final 3 to 2
 Boxscores    Recaps
GAME 2
Mariners at Astros
Fri, Aug 30 Final 7 to 1
 Boxscores    Recaps
GAME 3
Mariners at Astros
Sat, Aug 31 Final 3 to 1
 Boxscores    Recaps
GAME 4
Mariners at Astros
Sun, Sep 1 Final 0 to 2
 Boxscores    Recaps

 CURRENT LAS VEGAS LINE
 Team  ML   RUN   O/U 
 SEA  -125   +125   9 
 HOU  +115   -145   
LAS VEGAS LINE MOVEMENTS

 CURRENT SPORTSBOOK LINE
 Team  ML   RUN   O/U 
 SEA  -136   +120   9 
 HOU  +126   -140   
OFFSHORE LINE MOVEMENTS

 BETTING TRENDS
 Team  ML   RUN   O/U 
 SEA  n/a   n/a   n/a 
 HOU  n/a   n/a   n/a 
BT MOVEMENTS

 MLB HEAD TO HEAD
 Aug 29, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 SEA 3 Cover: +100 
 HOU 2 Under: 5 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Jul 21, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 SEA 12 Cover: +100 
 HOU 5 Over: 17 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Jul 20, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 SEA 4 Cover: +100 
 HOU 2 Under: 6 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Jul 19, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 SEA 10 Cover: +100 
 HOU 7 Over: 17 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Jun 12, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 HOU 6 Cover: +124 
 SEA 1 Under: 7 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Jun 11, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 HOU 0 Under: 4 
 SEA 4 Cover: +100 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Jun 10, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 HOU 2 Under: 5 
 SEA 3 Cover: +100 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Apr 24, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 SEA 3 Over: 13 
 HOU 10 Cover: +100 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Apr 23, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 SEA 2 Under: 5 
 HOU 3 Cover: +115 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Apr 22, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 SEA 7 Cover: +100 
 HOU 1 Over: 8 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps

 MLB PREVIEWS
 Friday, Aug 30
 
    Phillies at Cubs
2:20 PM EDT
    Indians at Tigers
7:05 PM EDT
    Orioles at Yankees
7:05 PM EDT
    Royals at Blue Jays
7:05 PM EDT
    Mets at Nationals
7:05 PM EDT
    Cardinals at Pirates
7:05 PM EDT
    White Sox at Red Sox
7:10 PM EDT
    Marlins at Braves
7:35 PM EDT
    Twins at Rangers
8:05 PM EDT
    Angels at Brewers
8:10 PM EDT
    Mariners at Astros
8:10 PM EDT
    Reds at Rockies
8:40 PM EDT
    Giants at Diamondbacks
9:40 PM EDT
    Rays at Athletics
10:05 PM EDT
    Padres at Dodgers
10:10 PM EDT
 
 
 
  
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