It was the biggest game of Walker Buehler’s life, they said. And so, in the biggest game of his life; I watched Walker Buehler take the ball against the St. Louis Cardinals and simply dominate. Just 49 days into his 24th year of life, I just saw a young man throw one of the greatest games in my 30 years watching baseball. Buehler’s dominance of the Cardinals in their park – with everything on the line – made Yasiel Puig’s multi-homer game a mere footnote.
So many times in the 2018 season, the Dodgers have looked dead-to-rights only to be rescued by someone. The eyes of baseball must see the scoreboard and say ‘these damn guys just don’t go away, what is it about them’. Those same eyes probably are without the faintest idea of how dominant the Dodgers’ rookie right-hander really is.
In this situation – if they missed the game and the highlights – let’s capture it here for them:
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 15, 2018
Down to the end, Buehler was magnificent. His 105th delivery of the night was a strikeout with two men on; making the National league’s leading home-run hitter look silly with a breaking ball. The Dodgers led 2-0 at that point, and would go on to maintain the goose egg with a 3-0 win.
Accordingly, and forever etched in the annals of baseball’s time; Walker Buehler carved the beginnings of a legendary baseball legacy on Friday evening.
You see, Buehler went back and got the game he should have had on August 22nd in Los Angeles. Sure, you remember it. He matched his same opposing number Jack Flaherty stride-for-stride that night. In fact, Buehler was just a hair better. When he exited that game after seven shutout innings, the Dodgers led 1-0. Thereafter, the Dodgers gave the game away in the eighth and ninth innings.
Buehler turned up the dial on Friday night. The door was open for that to happen maybe once or twice. And just as that door seemed barely opened, he slammed it shut with that familiar dominant presence. The squat, the look, the emotion; and then the thunder delivery that you just can’t forget for hours after the game ends.
Regardless of what fate holds for the Dodgers in these next two weeks, we have Walker Buehler. Moreover, we will always have Friday night in St. Louis on that September 14th day. The night that a 24-year old with no ceiling took it to a tough ball club and left them without the faintest glimpse of hope.
When the lights were brightest, Buehler took the ball again and signaled ‘give me more’.
And to me – in a handful of Buehler starts that have made me say ‘wow’ – this was the night when Walker Buehler ruled the earth.
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