Christian Walker shows staying power as D-backs push for 2023 playoffs
Sep 27, 2023, 8:42 AM
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Walker probably doesn’t have much time to reminisce over his seven-year run with the Arizona Diamondbacks given the team’s positioning in the final week of the season.
Arizona remains in a push to remain in the NL Wild Card picture. Walker helped them remain in control of their spot in the standings with a career-high 11 total bases and six RBIs — via two homers and a triple — in a 15-4 win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday.
Still, there is meaning to Walker’s season on an individual level.
Walker’s game Tuesday pushed him to 103 RBIs on the year, making him just the 10th Diamondbacks player to surpass the triple-digit mark for a season.
“I think first and foremost to feel like I’m helping the team down the stretch when we need wins most, that feels great,” Walker told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Wednesday. “The protection in the lineup to be able to score that many runs and to have that much traffic on base, credit to the guys and the team for a great win (Tuesday).
“I’m very proud of (surpassing 100 RBIs). That’s a mark that I feel like I’ve had my eye on for a while. Even more so, it makes it that much sweeter that we’re doing it and winning.”
With a .510 slugging percentage and .850 OPS, Walker is sitting on career highs counting the seasons in which he’s been a regular MLB player.
The first baseman has a Gold Glove Award under his belt and has been that steady presence since star Paul Goldschmidt was traded before the 2019 season.
Walker, 32, was still finding his footing as a professional the last time Arizona made a postseason in 2017. This time around, should the D-backs hang onto a wild card spot, he is looking forward to filling a leadership role in his own way.
“We got guys like (Evan Longoria) in the clubhouse, Tommy (Pham) … I’m not really a high-energy, rah-rah in the dugout kind of guy,” Walker said. “For me, it’s about the relationships and the side conversations.
“When I see something on a player’s face, I want to make sure they’re good and make sure their headspace is good. … I love the challenge and opportunity to have a leadership role on this team.”