Dodgers’ Walker Buehler Establishes Himself as Ace of Staff after Near No Hitter

The Dodgers boast one of the best rotations in baseball, and it's clear who is at the top of the pecking order

When boasting a pitching staff that consists of three Cy Young award winners (Clayton Kershaw, Trevor Bauer, David Price) you’d assume one of these guys would be called upon to start a do or die game. 

But, as a wise man or your sophomore year English teacher once said, “Never assume… It makes an ass out of you and me.”

At this point in time, I want Walker Buehler leading the troops with the season on the line. 

I’m not just riding the high of his near no hitter last night before Bob Nightengale jinxed it. 

Annddddd 10 minutes later this got sent out to the interwebs:

Coincidence? I think not. 

Phantom curses aside, Buehler was dazzled on the rubber last night for 7.1 IP, two hits, two earned runs, and 11 strikeouts in front of the “home” crowd. 

Putting up videogame numbers against the Diamondbacks isn’t anything to write home about. After all the last time a team was this awful, JFK was assassinated in Dallas when riding with the top down. 

What makes this above the fold news is how consistent Buehler has been even before some numbskull took a chomp out of a bat. 

Including the postseason, Buehler has gone at least six innings in 16 consecutive starts and hasn’t lost in 30 straight. 

The last time Buehler lost was Sept. 21, 2019 against the Rockies after giving up four ER, five hits and three walks. The Dodgers lineup that day featured Russell Martin and David Freese, and Kenta Maeda came in for relief. 

The last time Buehler didn’t go at least six innings was in a losing effort in Game 1 of the NLCS against the Braves. He gave up one earned in five innings and was the first of three losses to the Braves before the Dodgers miraculously came back and flipped a 3-1 series deficit on Atlanta’s head. 

Everyday it shocks me to see the Giants sitting pretty in first place, but it’s time to accept the Dodgers could possibly play in a Wildcard game to sneak into the playoffs. Knock on wood that it doesn’t come to that, but in this case Buehler has got to be on the mound. 

For over arching narratives it’s much more enticing to let the franchise’s greatest pitcher or big ticket free agent get the nod, but the guy that has the best probability to dish out a quality start needs to toe the rubber. 

Buehler currently ranks among the top 10 in the following NL pitching categories: WAR (2.6), ERA (2.38), Wins (7), WHIP (.904), and BB/9 (1.886).

He’s only top five in BB/9, but his ability to keep the ball in the park (giving up two or more homeruns in a start once) and not get blown up (giving up four or more ER twice) is what makes me feel most confident. 

The most fascinating part about this run is how simple his approach is. When recapping his starts he’s not dishing out wisdom that one would come to realize after traveling through the desert for 40 days. 

Command the zone with your heater early in the count, then end it with a curve. If a hitter is showing signs that he can’t touch your fastball then stick with it and elevate it in the zone. 

Will Smith said it best after the game:

“I’m glad he’s on our side so I don’t have to face him.”

Photo via Dodgers Insider

When Matt Weiner isn’t blogging about the Dodgers, he’s yelling at his TV because of them.

Follow Matt on Twitter: @mattweiner20