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Oct. 5 Taijuan Walker D-backs Workout Day interview

MLB.com

Q. When did you find out you were going to be starting tomorrow, and just kind of your reaction to it?

TAIJUAN WALKER: Just a couple hours ago (laughing). I was ready. I was prepared. They told me to be ready for either Game 1 or Game 2. When they told me I didn't make the roster for the Wild Card game, so I was already kind of mentally prepared for either one of these two games.

Q. What are your emotions, what are your thoughts heading into it?

TAIJUAN WALKER: I'm excited. Still a little tired from last night's game. You know, it was a wild one last night. So still trying to recover from that. But I'm ready. I've done my research. I've faced them a couple times this year, so they've seen me a little bit too. So I think it should be a pretty good match-up.

Q. You've faced them a couple times this year. Does the familiarity help in that situation? Is it the pitcher or the hitter?

TAIJUAN WALKER: I think it's a little bit of both. They know what I've got, and I kind of know what they've got and I kind of know their weaknesses. So I think if I just follow my game plan, I think it should be good.

Q. When you're facing a guy on the mound like Clayton Kershaw, understandably he hits, but is there any factor that you're facing a guy that's so decorated with so many awards?

TAIJUAN WALKER: Yeah, I think the biggest thing is to just focus on myself, focus on my game plan, focus on the pitches I have to execute. Kershaw is the best in the game. It's definitely going to be a fun one tomorrow, but I think I've just got to focus on myself.

Q. Jon Gray admitted after the game last night that he had difficulty with his emotions in that first inning and that gave him problems. For you making a postseason start like this opposite one of the best pitchers in the game, how will you personally control your emotions or try to?

TAIJUAN WALKER: Yeah, I think that was the biggest one I've learned, watching Jon Gray and even Severino from the Yankees, we're all young pitchers, first time throwing in the postseason. I think the biggest thing is controlling our emotions and taking it one pitch at a time. I think you can't go out there and let the adrenaline really get to you. You have to take a deep breath every pitch and really focus on each pitch.

Q. Is there someone that you turn to for advice about that sort of situation?

TAIJUAN WALKER: Not yet. I've kind of just been watching and maybe I'll talk to Zack. He's pretty good at that. You can see him on the mound, he doesn't really show too many emotions, and I think he's really good at that.

Q. What's a typical number of tickets that you have to distribute to family and friends for a game at Dodger Stadium, and does that feel any different when you do pitch here because you do have family living so close?

TAIJUAN WALKER: Yeah, just my family like my mom, my wife, my brothers and sister. That's about it. Everyone else is kind of on their own (laughing). Yeah, it's a hot ticket, so...

Q. Where is this one going to rank in terms of biggest starts of your life, and what are some others that come to mind for you?

TAIJUAN WALKER: Yeah, I think it's definitely the biggest one. My first postseason start. Kind of ranks up there with my debut, but I think this might be a little bit bigger than that. So, yeah. It's kind of crazy, you know. The I'm still trying to gather my emotions and stuff, but I think it should be fun.

Q. Obviously you have a little layoff with the Dodgers having a couple days off, and you guys have emotion and a lot going on, how can that help you as a team, not only as a pitcher on the mound, but right now kind of riding this wave that your team is feeling?

TAIJUAN WALKER: Yeah, I think we have just a little bit more momentum. Just coming off yesterday's game, we're a little more fresh. You know, we've seen live pitching and just the live hitting. So I think that kind of helps us moving and going into tomorrow.

Q. Do you sense any extra juice between you guys and the Dodgers because of the rivalry, because of the proximity, because of the history?

TAIJUAN WALKER: I think so. It's kind of been like that all year. It's been back and forth all year. They kind of ran away with the division, but I think it's pretty cool that we faced the Rockies who are in the division, and now facing the Dodgers. So having three teams from our division is pretty special.

Q. Did you get any tips from Archie Bradley about hitting?

TAIJUAN WALKER: I do have a home run on the year and he doesn't. But his hit was pretty big yesterday. I'm not going to lie. I was in the clubhouse because I couldn't really handle it, and he hit that ball, and I kind of lost my voice yesterday after he hit it, I was screaming pretty loud.

Q. You said you were in the clubhouse because you couldn't handle it; what do you mean?

TAIJUAN WALKER: It was a crazy game. It was going back and forth. I knew we had that 6-0 lead early, and I think everyone's emotions were pretty calm. The Rockies, they have such a good lineup, and they put up a four-spot in that inning, and from there on it was back and forth and it was kind of stressful.

Q. When you go in the clubhouse, what do you do? Watch it on TV?

TAIJUAN WALKER: I was watching it on TV, and sometimes not watching it, and just pacing back and forth.

Q. When did you find out you were going to be starting tomorrow, and just kind of your reaction to it?

TAIJUAN WALKER: Just a couple hours ago (laughing). I was ready. I was prepared. They told me to be ready for either Game 1 or Game 2. When they told me I didn't make the roster for the Wild Card game, so I was already kind of mentally prepared for either one of these two games.

Q. What are your emotions, what are your thoughts heading into it?

TAIJUAN WALKER: I'm excited. Still a little tired from last night's game. You know, it was a wild one last night. So still trying to recover from that. But I'm ready. I've done my research. I've faced them a couple times this year, so they've seen me a little bit too. So I think it should be a pretty good match-up.

Q. You've faced them a couple times this year. Does the familiarity help in that situation? Is it the pitcher or the hitter?

TAIJUAN WALKER: I think it's a little bit of both. They know what I've got, and I kind of know what they've got and I kind of know their weaknesses. So I think if I just follow my game plan, I think it should be good.

Q. When you're facing a guy on the mound like Clayton Kershaw, understandably he hits, but is there any factor that you're facing a guy that's so decorated with so many awards?

TAIJUAN WALKER: Yeah, I think the biggest thing is to just focus on myself, focus on my game plan, focus on the pitches I have to execute. Kershaw is the best in the game. It's definitely going to be a fun one tomorrow, but I think I've just got to focus on myself.

Q. Jon Gray admitted after the game last night that he had difficulty with his emotions in that first inning and that gave him problems. For you making a postseason start like this opposite one of the best pitchers in the game, how will you personally control your emotions or try to?

TAIJUAN WALKER: Yeah, I think that was the biggest one I've learned, watching Jon Gray and even Severino from the Yankees, we're all young pitchers, first time throwing in the postseason. I think the biggest thing is controlling our emotions and taking it one pitch at a time. I think you can't go out there and let the adrenaline really get to you. You have to take a deep breath every pitch and really focus on each pitch.

Q. Is there someone that you turn to for advice about that sort of situation?

TAIJUAN WALKER: Not yet. I've kind of just been watching and maybe I'll talk to Zack. He's pretty good at that. You can see him on the mound, he doesn't really show too many emotions, and I think he's really good at that.

Q. What's a typical number of tickets that you have to distribute to family and friends for a game at Dodger Stadium, and does that feel any different when you do pitch here because you do have family living so close?

TAIJUAN WALKER: Yeah, just my family like my mom, my wife, my brothers and sister. That's about it. Everyone else is kind of on their own (laughing). Yeah, it's a hot ticket, so...

Q. Where is this one going to rank in terms of biggest starts of your life, and what are some others that come to mind for you?

TAIJUAN WALKER: Yeah, I think it's definitely the biggest one. My first postseason start. Kind of ranks up there with my debut, but I think this might be a little bit bigger than that. So, yeah. It's kind of crazy, you know. The I'm still trying to gather my emotions and stuff, but I think it should be fun.

Q. Obviously you have a little layoff with the Dodgers having a couple days off, and you guys have emotion and a lot going on, how can that help you as a team, not only as a pitcher on the mound, but right now kind of riding this wave that your team is feeling?

TAIJUAN WALKER: Yeah, I think we have just a little bit more momentum. Just coming off yesterday's game, we're a little more fresh. You know, we've seen live pitching and just the live hitting. So I think that kind of helps us moving and going into tomorrow.

Q. Do you sense any extra juice between you guys and the Dodgers because of the rivalry, because of the proximity, because of the history?

TAIJUAN WALKER: I think so. It's kind of been like that all year. It's been back and forth all year. They kind of ran away with the division, but I think it's pretty cool that we faced the Rockies who are in the division, and now facing the Dodgers. So having three teams from our division is pretty special.

Q. Did you get any tips from Archie Bradley about hitting?

TAIJUAN WALKER: I do have a home run on the year and he doesn't. But his hit was pretty big yesterday. I'm not going to lie. I was in the clubhouse because I couldn't really handle it, and he hit that ball, and I kind of lost my voice yesterday after he hit it, I was screaming pretty loud.

Q. You said you were in the clubhouse because you couldn't handle it; what do you mean?

TAIJUAN WALKER: It was a crazy game. It was going back and forth. I knew we had that 6-0 lead early, and I think everyone's emotions were pretty calm. The Rockies, they have such a good lineup, and they put up a four-spot in that inning, and from there on it was back and forth and it was kind of stressful.

Q. When you go in the clubhouse, what do you do? Watch it on TV?

TAIJUAN WALKER: I was watching it on TV, and sometimes not watching it, and just pacing back and forth.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.