The Dodgers season hasn’t truly started until there is a little bit of controversy involved. That started with Clayton Kershaw not being able to finish his perfect game in Minnesota against the Twins. Kersh was north of 80 pitches and it was his first start of the season, but of course everyone wanted to see it get done.
But Dodgers fans did get treated to another great pitching performance on Monday night. Walker Buehler came out and tossed a complete-game shutout against the Diamondbacks and punched out 10 batters. He did not allow a walk and gave up just 3 hits in the process. It was absolute domination.
But Buehler also was getting up there in his pitch count. The Dodgers are notorious for protecting their arms from workloads, so it was a surprise to see him coming out of the dugout to pitch the 9th inning. After the game, Dave Roberts explained his decision to let him come out again. (quotes via the OC Registers’ Bill Plunkett)
“After coming out of the eighth inning, he said, ‘I’m not coming out of this game.’ I believed him. I trust him. He has an extra day going into his next start. Everything just kind of lined up.”
Obviously, Buehler is very much a gamer. He wants the ball every chance he can get and he wants to go right after hitters. The Dodgers and Dave Roberts very much know this about him. So the fact that he stormed back out for the 9th inning really wasn’t much of a surprise, even with them pulling Kershaw early.
Again, there are a lot of reasons why Buehler stayed in and Kershaw did not. But none of it had to do with a lack of desire to finish the game.
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