In Thursday’s NLDS series opener against the Washington Nationals, Walker Buehler let it all hang out. Furthermore, he went six innings while allowing just one hit. Equally important, he tallied eight strikeouts.
Thanks to MLB Stats on Twitter, we are made aware of how prolific Buehler’s strikeout totals have been through five postseason starts. In fact, he’s right there with a Dodgers’ legend on the Mount Rushmore of postseason strikeouts through five starts.
.@Dodgers starters with most Ks through 5 postseason starts:
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) October 4, 2019
Now, Buehler has 37 strikeouts in his first five postseason starts. How good is this total? He sits just two behind the Hall of Famer Koufax at 39, taking us down history lane a little bit.
Furthermore, Buehler accomplished another feat of history in NLDS game one. Let’s take a look at a tweet from Stats by STATS.
Last 2 playoff starts for the @Dodgers' Walker Buehler:
2018 WS Gm 3: 7.0 IP, 2 hits
Tonight: 6.0 IP, 1 hit
He's the first NL pitcher ever to have back-to-back playoff starts pitching 6.0+ innings while allowing 2 or fewer hits.#LABleedsBlue
— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) October 4, 2019
Indeed, Buehler is the first National League pitcher ever to have back-to-back playoff starts going six-plus innings while allowing two or fewer hits. Of course, the last time we saw Buehler in a playoff game was in the World Series of 2018 against the Boston Red Sox. During that game, Buehler allowed just two hits over seven innings.
All night long in NLDS game one, Buehler featured a power fastball that climbed into the upper 90’s. While battling through some control issues – issuing three walks – he had the stuff to work out of several jams.
Finally, they say the strikeout pitch and plus-stuff plays up in the big moments. Without question, Buehler put on display the type of arsenal that has already given him the reputation as a big game pitcher.
It’s possible the Dodgers are looking at another staff ace already, if historical statistics are any indicator.