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Dodgers: Walker Buehler Admits Re-Adjusting to Non-Bubble Playoffs Has its Challenges



I’ve said it a few times already this postseason… I miss the 2020 bubble. Mostly, I miss that for the Dodgers because it ultimately created a consistent playing environment game to game, week to week, and the way through LA’s first title since 1988.

As we’ve seen quite often in the past, these Dodgers seemingly struggle to adapt and adjust to the playing environment in a timely manner — even at Dodger Stadium where balls that are home runs in August are warning track outs in cooler autumn evenings. We saw a lack of adjustment in the infamous wind game in the NLDS round a week ago and we can even go back a few seasons where players admitted that frigid Boston nights had an effect during games in the 2018 World Series.

…but that’s not what this article is about… this has just been me venting. 

Another area where it’s easy to see the effects of the non-bubble life is in the demeanor in the players. Facts are facts, even if the players are withholding the full truth… these guys are tired. Chris Taylor mentioned it briefly after Sunday night’s loss in Atlanta and Walker Buehler talked about it on Monday at Dodger Stadium. The MLB bubble did help teams in one way. They didn’t have to travel.

“I don’t know if I would ever say I really missed the bubble a lot,” Buehler said. “But certainly some of the travel and the stuff that that puts on you as a player, as a staff, as a coach, as a human – I think it’s something that you kind of forget when you don’t do it for a year. … There’s a lot more that goes into winning the playoffs than just the games. I think handling the travel, handling nutrition, things like that are huge. In the bubble, we didn’t really have to worry about that kind of stuff.”

So, understandably, there’s something of a re-adjustment period for teams — especially the Dodgers who played most of September at a high level while trying to unseat the Giants for the NL Crown. They didn’t. So they went into October with a do or die game to play followed by five max intensity games against the Giants. They took that series then immediately jumped on a plane to the east coast to play a hungry Braves team who have a whole lot to prove after squandering a 3-1 NLCS lead to the Dodgers a year earlier.

“We’ve done this a few times before,” he said. “So hopefully we’ll settle back into it and start winning some games.”

LA will look to start a winning streak this afternoon at Dodger Stadium with Buehler on the mound, rested and recovered from not only pitching on short rest, but also from a stomach bug he picked up in San Francisco. 

NEXT: Catcher Will Smith Feeling ‘Locked In’ This Playoffs

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

Comments

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  1. Excellent article Clint! It certainly gives some clarity as to possible reasons the Boys in Blue came up just short in Atlanta.

  2. It’s been 20 years since a team went back to back. And I don’t care that we are down 2-0. Doesn’t matter because we are the best team in baseball this year and last. Time to run the table Dodgers. LFG!

    • John, while I do agree the Dodgers are the better team, I’m suddenly getting a bit more concerned here. The more I read tells me that this year is much different than last year. Last year, no fans, no travel. Baseball is driven by momentum and emotion. Just look at the WC Red Sox just running roughshod over the Cheaters. Dodgers will need to strike early AND HARD to seize back the momentum the Braves have established. The Braves are hungrier than the Dodgers 1st two games. The have been the aggressors and have brought the fight! They are acting like they are the better team. It’s up to the Dodgers to put them in their place.

      • I know Astros are short on pitching but I just wish Dodger offense was even half as good as the Red Sox. If that was the case ,Dodgers would have been up 2 to 0 instead of being 2 games down.

      • Last years team had the magic. Timely hits when it mattered. I still believe this team is better, however that stretch run was intense all the way to Atlanta. Could easily be 2-0 considering how flat we were as well.
        Where I beg to differ is that Atl is hungrier and acting like the better team. To me it seems that they were waiting for something bad to happen and when they got the break they took advantage. That said, we play all phases of Dodger baseball and we win the series.

        • John, compare the base-running between Rosario and CT3. Braves far more aggressive IMHO. Do I think the Dodgers are better? Without question! They simply haven’t shown it YET. Thank goodness there is still time.

          Let’s go Dodgers!

  3. Dodgers are feeling it a bit this postseason. I think this 3 game stretch at home is just what the dr ordered (pun intended!) In the same spot as last year down 2-0 to the Braves. Today this series starts!!! Go Dodgers

  4. Losing Kiki and Joc…two loose, high-intensity, and clutch utility players, have hurt this team. And they signed for peanuts elsewhere. Neither are making anywhere close to Pollock, a playoff dud, and both are tearing a new a$$ whole through the playoffs as we speak. We’ve got crap on the bench and energy is non-existent
    Just saying, ANDREW FRIEDMAN.
    .

  5. Dodgers also had the luxury of a DH last year. But MLB and that idiot Manfred chose to return to separate rules for the AL & NL. Yes the Union didn’t feel good about having a Universal DH conditional upon having an expanded PS and a delayed shortened season. In a way understandable having to ramp up from a 60 game season to a full 162 this year. Hopefully with a full season now the Union may be more acceptable to at least make it a best of 3 WC series. We saw how this 1 game WC was ridiculous with a 106 game winning team having their whole season come down to 1 game.

    • Paul, wow we finally agree on something! Excellent point, I actually forgot about the DH last year. Ya Smith DH’d so Dodgers defense was much better with Barnes behind the dish! Huge difference! Strategy completely different. No double switches required, completely different environments. Neutral site, no fan energy (a couple scattered fans). No comparison or least very little.

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