D-Backs' Walker to start Game 1 of NLDS

Simon Sharkey-Gotlieb
Joe Camporeale / USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo announced Thursday that right-hander Taijuan Walker will start Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday.

Los Angeles will counter Walker with ace Clayton Kershaw.

Friday's start will mark Walker's first career playoff appearance after 93 regular-season appearances.

The 25-year-old just put together the best season of his career for the Diamondbacks, posting a 3.49 ERA, 1.328 WHIP, and 146 strikeouts across 28 starts. He joined the D-Backs this past winter via trade after spending his first four seasons pitching for the Seattle Mariners.

He pitched particularly well as a visitor in Dodger Stadium this year, holding Los Angeles hitters to a .205 average and .535 OPS during a pair of starts at Chavez Ravine.

While Lovullo has yet to announce who will follow Walker in the D-Backs' NLDS rotation, he's reportedly leaning toward starting left-hander Robbie Ray - who threw 2 1/3 innings of relief in Wednesday's wild-card game - in Game 2 at Dodger Stadium, according to Nick Piecoro of AZCentral.com. Zack Greinke, who started the wild-card game against Colorado, would then be lined up to face the Dodgers in Game 3 at Chase Field.