Should Fans Be Concerned About Walker Buehler?

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.

They could always move someone to the bullpen. The two pitchers who started the year in the bullpen, Tony Gonsolin and Tyler Anderson, have been the best starters the team has had this year.

The Dodger bullpen is already short with injuries to Blake Treinen, Tommy Kahnle, and others.

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.

The Giants will start right-hander Jakob Junis; with Saturday’s starter still to be determined, left-hander Carlos Rodon will start the final game.

Friday’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Pacific.

14 thoughts on “Should Fans Be Concerned About Walker Buehler?

  1. Naw.good 25 year old pitchers don’t suddenly get bad just like bad 32 year old pitchers ( Anderson, Heaney) don’t suddenly get good. Right Jeff.

    1. If you’d asked me that on opening day, I would have agreed. However, based on what I’ve seen through the first third of the season, it looks as though those scenarios are very possible.

      As a matter of fact, Jacob Junis, the Giants starter tonight, is a story very similar to the other two you mentioned. He’s only 29 but his career so far was 4 or 5 very mediocre years with the Royals. Giants signed him this season and he’s been absolutely great.

  2. Pitching like many things is a complex craft. There are the mental, physical & repeatable body mechanics that merged together give a successful outcome. Buehler says he is fighting his mechanics which have to be perfect for a person his size to hurl a baseball 98 mph plus with pin point control. I wonder if Urias is having the same issue. Pitchers can have an epiphany and “get it” like Gonsolin. Some guys fight it like Pepiot but have the talent. Buehler is working on it and the Dodgers are in 1st place. I am more concerned about JT. His swing is late. I am hoping Smith’s bat comes around. Is this version of Bellinger what we should expect?

  3. Yes I am concerned. His fastball is getting ripped. I absolutely hate losing to the Giants.

    1. AP game recap: After game Buehler admitted to elbow problems that have been bothering him for some time.

      1. OK, so now we know. I guess we’ll know more in the next day or two.

        I’m thinking it’s going to be a bad or badder scenario. Either weeks off to rest and hopefully recover, or TJ.

        Either way, I suppose it’s good for AF because he’ll know he won’t be able to depend on Buehler’s usual top-of-the-rotation contribution for quite a while. That will mean he can start formulating his strategy for the trade deadline.

        Based on Heaney’s two rehab performances so far, he seems almost ready. If he can come back and continue on the same path as before he was hurt, that might make a major difference in Andrew’s plans. If not, I would think he will certainly find himself another good starter by July and I don’t think it will be any of our young prospects. He’ll want a veteran to take us down the stretch and into the playoffs.

        Lastly, I’ve been disappointed in Miller’s progress. He’s been incredibly inconsistent to the point where I would almost consider including him in the right trade. But it would have to be for something special, not just a starter with a couple years of control left.

  4. Dodger money can pretty much buy anybody and rarely have to give up a good prospect. Andrew will get it done somehow. We don’t need a first base man so figure out who goes along with a couple of our failed pitching prospects. It will depend a.lot on Heaney, Anderson, Kershaw and Gonsolin

  5. So his elbow is possibly shot. I am a big farm talent advocate. The more you give guys like Pepiot, Grove etc more reps in the MLB the better you can evaluate and if necessary showcase their talent. Stone was recently elevated to AA and looks good. Knack is coming off of an injury but throws strikes. I am hoping the Dodgers work with what they have coming up. And yes Miller has struggled and been passed in my mind by others. Heaney and Kershaw’s addition soon will bail the team out. White pitched a solid outing. I am a bit concerned about the bullpen as some of them have had rocky appearances recently and I am very concerned about Kimbrel. If the Dodgers believe in their talent why not bring up Pepiot and Grove as they are on the 40 man roster and let them pitch. The team is in contention see what they have. I watch Milb minor league baseball and Pepiot and Stone both have been impressive. Pepiot can get a swing and miss with that change whenever he needs it. As long as he can control it LOL…Grove in 24 innings pitched at Tulsa and OKC has 26 SO and 11BB with a 1.22 WHIP so he has swing and miss potential. I like to see how these guys compete after they are over their nerves. The Dodgers did that with Gonsolin and May and it turned out. Just read they are bringing up Grove…

    1. Tmaster you know better than that. Those are not major league pitchers. Never will be Dodgers know that . Miller has potential. What exactly has double a (or triple a ) stats got to do with major league potentials?

      1. I disagree Gordon. Stats are a great way to determine potential. Look at the SO’s vs BB which is WHIP. The AO/GO to see if he gets guys to hit on the ground. I think Pepiot has MLB talent and Grove might also. I have watched Stone pitch and he has control and swing and miss stuff. Those 3 and Miller and Bruns are very probable major leaguers for someone. Possibly Knack as he has great control.

      2. With Brian Gomes now head of Operations and formally working with the Farm Teams I think the Dodgers might continue to bring up talent. The Dodgers lost draft position this year and had to pay a huge tax. I don’t believe their budget is financially sustainable. Friedman has said as much several times. If u have built a great Farm System why not use it for more than trade bait? I don’t think the Dodgers will sign T Turner as Lux is proving he can hit. In 2023 bring up Busch and Vargas. Move Lux to SS. That plus Price, Kimbrel, J Turner coming off contract will get them in better financial shape. May will be back in 23 for certain.

  6. Well I do agree tmaxter that they should be giving these players a real shot and see how they perform. They are not young (mostly) and better to bring them up when there is less pressure. But most of them have control problems, which may be expected when 21 but not when you are 24/25. And I’ve noticed that major league hitters are a little better than AA and AAA.

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