It’s not every day that a team puts the pressure of an entire season on the shoulders of a 24-year-old kid. But Walker Buehler is not your average 24-year-old, and the Dodgers’ faithful fans know that by now.
The kid burst onto the big league scene in late April due to a series of injuries. The Dodgers’ starting rotation was decimated and they had to turn to the young flamethrower to fill in for a few starts. The Crestview Hills Kentucky native tossed five innings and did not allow a run in his 2018 debut. He struck out five Marlins and walked three en route to a no-decision. It was clear right away that he belonged.
Walker stuck around pretty much for the rest of the year, blossoming into one of the best pitcher’s on the team. He made 22 starts in 2018 and pitched to a 2.76 earned run average to go along with his 148 strikeouts. Buehler struck out roughly ten batters per nine innings pitched and ended up walking two batters every nine innings.
And now it comes down to this: One game to decide who goes on to the division series and who plays the dreaded wild-card game. And Dodgers fans have to be confident that he is the guy to get it done for them. Walker has been absolutely dominant at home this year. He has tossed 68 innings and allowed 16 earned runs pitching in his own ballpark.
The Rockies’ starter is no slouch though. German Marquez has been absolutely phenomenal all year long and has pitched quite well against Los Angeles. He has also been significantly better on the road. Buehler has the luxury of experience. He has faced off against the Rockies five times this year alone. In those starts, he has thrown 31 innings and allowed nine earned runs(2.61 era) without yet earning a victory.
Dave Roberts made it absolutely clear that the goal is to play for the division title, and him starting Buehler in this one shows he is going all in. The offense has put up nearly six runs per game and been very good against Colorado this season. The Dodgers have won twelve out of the nineteen meetings between the two teams in 2018. Not to mention the fact that they have won five out of six over Colorado in September.
The situation looked dire as recently as Friday evening for Dodgers Nation, but the hope is still there. We can win this thing. It’s all up to a kid from Vanderbilt now.
Author’s Note: I will be at the game Monday, will you? Hit me on Twitter(@brookme3), I’d love to meet you!
[button color=”red” size=”big” alignment=”center” rel=”follow” openin=”samewindow” url=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/pennant-race-daily-conquering-madison-bumgarner-one-final-time-ce1110/2018/09/29/”]Pennant Race Daily: Conquering Madison Bumgarner One Final Time[/button]