The Dodgers really need all of their starters to be at the top of their game. With so much uncertainty surrounding the starting staff at the beginning of the season, getting the most out of the guys at the top is crucial Walker Buehler might be the most essential.
But right now, he is very much not at the top of his game. Buehler has been tagged for 7 earned runs in 15.2 innings across his first 3 starts of the year. The Dodgers did win 2 of those starts, but Buehler only got the decision in 1 of them. His latest start resulted in a loss to the Braves on Tuesday night.
After the game, Buehler talked about having to come off of his four-seam fastball, opting instead to throw his cutter more often. After throwing the cutter just 16 percent of the time in 2021, the Dodgers pitcher went to it 28 percent of the time on Tuesday night. (quotes via Juan Toribio)
“The only way I feel that I’m getting guys out or getting swings and miss is with the cutter right now. So we’re going to lean on the stuff that I feel like gives us the best chance to win with. … I don’t think there’s any excuse for it. We’re here and I just have to be better.”
The Dodgers very much need him to be better. And while it’s still early in the season, Buehler is running out of time to use that as an excuse. And he knows that.
“You can tell yourself that it was Colorado and things weren’t sharp, but to have two here at home and not be super sharp, it’s nothing that I enjoy. It’s not a feeling that I like. But it’s not something we’re just going to let stay that way either. So we’re trying things and trying to figure out and hopefully get back on track.”
The good news is that all of the peripheral numbers are there. Buehler’s velocity is almost exactly where it needs to be, his spin rates arent that far off from last year, and his movement is even on par with his career. So the Dodgers hurler just needs to execute.
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