Coming into the season, Walker Buehler was one of the favorites to win the National League Cy Young Award. But, in his recent starts, he has not been his normal self. Yes, it hasn’t been entirely catastrophic, but we fans know the young righty can be much better.
Buehler has one complete game shutout this season. Outside of that start, he has posted a 4.50 ERA, which is uncommon. In his last outing, he only lasted 2 ⅓ innings against the New York Mets — the shortest outing of his career.
Overall, Buehler has posted a 3.84 ERA this year, which is not a horrible stat. But, he is expected to be the ace. He also has posted six wins and his road stats are a 4-0 record with a 1.67 ERA, suggesting most of his struggles have been at home.
The main concern around Buehler has been his fastball, as it’s apparently lost significant spin. MLB has cracked down on sticky substances, and Buehler was a known user.
When Los Angeles gets Andrew Heaney and Clayton Kershaw back, the Dodgers will have six starting pitchers who arguably deserve a rotation spot. They could opt to use a six-man starting rotation, but on June 20th, the MLB 13 pitcher limit goes back into effect, which means they would only have seven bullpen arms if they went with a six-man starting rotation.
Buehler still has time to figure it out; however. If the Dodgers are going to make another playoff run, they will need Buehler. He has been the best Dodger pitcher in the postseason for the past couple of years.
In the postseason, Buehler has a career 2.94 ERA and had a 1.80 ERA in the 2020 postseason when the Dodgers won it all.
For all we know, Buehler can come out and pitch exceptionally well in his Friday night start against the San Francisco Giants.
In his career, Buehler is 7-1 and has posted a 2.55 ERA against the Giants. He also is 17-4 in away divisional starts since April 2019.
Buehler will look to shake off his last start when he starts the first game of a three-game series against the Giants at Oracle Park. It is the first trip to San Francisco for the Dodgers this season.
For the Dodgers, Buehler will start the first game with Urias following on Saturday. The Dodger starter for Sunday is still to be determined, but all signs point to Clayton Kershaw being activated off the injured list to start.
Friday’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Pacific.