The Dodgers have high hopes for Walker Buehler as they enter 2021, but the spring hasn’t been particularly kind to the young righty. Tuesday’s game against the Brewers, in particular, produced some ugly numbers for his stat line.
That closes the book on #Dodgers Walker Buehler. He gave up nine runs on 10 hits over 4 2/3 innings. Struck out five and gave up four homers.
— Juan Toribio (@juanctoribio) March 23, 2021
Even though those numbers aren’t pretty to look at, manager Dave Roberts still feels that the team got what they wanted out of Walker during spring training.
Yeah, I think we have. I think that if you look at those last couple of seasons, he was late as far as starting the season. So I think that where we’re at right now with the build up…
Doc also pointed to the pitch selection made by the young ace as a contributing factor during Tuesday’s rocky outing.
In my opinion, he could have sequenced differently and he would’ve been fine. I thought the breaking ball was sharp, I thought the cutter was good. He just decided to use his fastball a lot today, so I think we certainly got what we expected or what we had hoped out of [him].
Notably, Walker’s fastball isn’t what it usually is so far this spring, often sitting in the mid-90s instead of the upper. Roberts attributed that to the lack of adrenaline in a meaningless Cactus League game.
It’s easy to overreact to a player’s stats in the spring, but they don’t mean a thing once April comes around. Still, you never want to see your young ace giving up seemingly a run per inning pitched either. Buehler’s 7.94 ERA this spring is by far the worst of his young MLB career. It’s unsightly, but again, that’s not what pitchers focus on during camp. The fact that he was able to build up his pitch count and come out of the outing healthy and on track still means something.
The truth is that Walker Buehler has never given us a reason to doubt his ability to turn it on when the time comes, and this should be no different. Walker is only scheduled to have one more outing, which will come in the Freeway Series against the Angels.