Taijuan Walker's season isn't going as planned and Phillies fans are getting restless

The Phillies' starting rotation has been excellent to this point in the season. However, one pitcher is not like the others.
Philadelphia Phillies starter Taijuan Walker
Philadelphia Phillies starter Taijuan Walker / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

If you’ve been following this Philadelphia Phillies team on their incredible run to start the 2024 season, you probably realize that this team is special. The wins keep piling up because of timely hitting, great work out of the bullpen and unreal starting pitching, for the most part.

The outlier on this pitching staff that will make any Phillies fan's stomach turn is Taijuan Walker.

The Phillies signed Walker to a four-year deal worth $72 million prior to the 2023 season. The one-time All-Star looked to come in and shore up the rotation behind Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola and Ranger Suárez, but that ship might’ve sailed.

Taijuan Walker's season isn't going as planned and Phillies fans are getting restless

Walker missed the first month of the season with a shoulder injury before making his first start on April 28 when he allowed six runs on eight hits against the San Diego Padres.

The veteran owns a 4-3 record through his first seven starts of the season with a 5.73 ERA. He is 1-3 in his last four starts, letting up a combined 24 hits and 14 earned runs in 19 innings pitched, causing fans to voice their frustration with him in the starting rotation.

During Sunday's 5-4 loss to the Cardinals, the Citizens Bank Park crowd showered Walker with boos after Alec Burleson put the Cardinals ahead with a two-run home run in the third inning. There were reportedly also "We want Turnbull" chants heard.

Spencer Turnbull was a part of the starting staff to begin the season while Walker was making his way back from injury. He made six starts and pitched well before being moved to the bullpen once Walker was healthy again.

Was this the right move? Keeping Turnbull in the rotation might’ve been better for the Phillies rather than changing something that was working well for the club, given how well he was performing.

There’s also the business side of sports that makes the higher-ups wary of certain decisions. Walker’s contract is one of those factors.

With how much the Phillies are paying Walker, it's tough to take him out of the rotation and insert him into a different role that might not be as important as what they’re paying him for. We saw this type of story play out after manager Rob Thomson opted not to use Walker during the 2023 postseason run.

Regardless, fans aren’t happy and want to see some change, whether that’s moving Walker to the bullpen and giving Turnbull another chance or looking elsewhere to shore up the starting five.

manual