It’s official. Walker Buehler gets the ball for the Dodgers in an elimination game at Dodger Stadium. The team made the announcement this morning, and really this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. To counter, the Giants are sending right-hander Anthony DeSclafani to the mound to start, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Logan Webb end up with a ball in his hand at some point tonight if San Francisco has a lead.
Walker Buehler will start Game 4 tonight.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 12, 2021
Buehler posted a 16-4 record on the year with a 2.47 ERA, making a career-high 33 starts and tossing a career-high 207.2 innings. He started game 1 against the Giants, allowing 3 earned runs in 6.1 IP at Oracle Park in San Francisco, this will be in LA where the ace has a 2.30 ERA lifetime at Dodger Stadium.
It’s do or die for the Dodgers tonight, which is a familiar situation for Buehler. Over his career, he’s stepped up in the big moments, and, once again, the big moment falls upon his shoulders. Still, the big question for LA will remain, which offense will show up tonight?
The bats scattered just 5 hits in a 1-0 shutout loss on Monday night. However, advanced stats tell you that luck absolutely was not on the side of the Dodgers. The team had an xBA (expected batted average) of .288 on batted balls in game 3. In game 2, that number was a similar .282. Looking at individual momentum-shifting moments for LA, it gets even worse.
Betts’ line out to end the 7th: .870, 100.4 mph
Taylor lineout to end the 6th: .920, 107mph
Betts groundout to end the 5th: .550, 101.2 mph
Pollock force out to end the 4th: .500, 94.2mph
Betts pop out to end the 3rd: .010, 83mph
Those were the innings that w/ runners LOB
— dalton (@daltonjbrown) October 12, 2021
So, the season hangs in the balance once again for this 106 win team. Buehler gets the start and the offense needs to find more luck in their back pockets. Behind Walker, anyone and everyone on the pitching staff should be available. In an ideal world, Dave Roberts is able to hold Julio Urias back for a game 5 situation, but if you don’t win today, there is no game 5.
First pitch is at 6:07 PM PT with the call on TBS and AM570 LA Sports Radio.