Been there, done that. Young Dodgers ace Walker Buehler knows a thing or two about stepping into the spotlight in a big game. By his count, this would be the third time in his two full seasons as a big leaguer. By our count, it seems like even more.
"It's something I'm familiar with and getting to do it at home certainly helps." @buehlersdayoff speaks about starting tomorrow's #NLDS Game 5 showdown at Dodger Stadium. #Dodgers pic.twitter.com/ezYN7ekgpD
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) October 9, 2019
Walker spoke with the media in Washington in preparation for his game 5 start at Dodger Stadium.
I guess this will be kind of my third [win or go home] scenario, so something I’m familiar with. Getting to do it at home certainly helps… there’s not a lot to it — we got to win a game and if we don’t, we go home.
Heading into the NLDS, the Dodgers weren’t expected to be in this situation. The team that paced the National League with 106 wins — a franchise record — is facing elimination in the first round of the playoffs. While undoubtedly LA is the better built team, Washington has rode the momentum of a come-from-behind win over Milwaukee in the Wild Card play in game to get to this point.
Moreover, Washington was tied with the Dodgers for the best record in the NL from May 24 and onward.
From 5/24 onward, the @Nationals led the NL in runs scored (654).
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) October 1, 2019
Long story short, the Nats are a better team than given credit for. Nevertheless, the Dodgers remain unphased, Walker Buehler in particular.
I think in [these big games] it kind of helps to know that you got everyone else behind you — it’s kind of ‘all hands on deck.’ And go as long as you can, as good as you can and try and get out of it as clean.
In a scenario where a young pitcher might be more interested to put the pressure on anyone else, Buehler finds the fun in it.
The thing that’s kind of lost in playoff baseball is that it’s really fun. And I think the pressure and things like that — if you spin it in your head the right way — if can make it more fun.
For Dodger fans, it truly is more fun with “The Buehldog” on the mound. The staff is anchored by a three-time Cy Young award winner, and a Cy Young hopeful, but there is no one anyone would rather see on the mound then Walker F’n Buehler.