Walker Buehler to start Game 1 of the NLDS for the Dodgers
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers ended the suspense Wednesday afternoon, a couple of hours prior to their final workout before the postseason: Walker Buehler will start Game 1 of the National League Division against the Washington Nationals on Thursday.
Buehler got the nod over Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu, a contender for the NL Cy Young award. The 25-year-old right-hander fluctuated between dominant and hittable during the regular season after an abbreviated
spring training hindered his first month.
Buehler posted six double-digit strikeout games — five without issuing a walk — while also not logging more than five innings in eight of his 30 starts. He finished 14-4 with a 3.26 earned-run average in 182 1/3 innings and was an All-Star for the first time. He boasts the highest ceiling among Dodgers’ starters, but also the lowest floor.
Buehler allowed two runs in five innings Friday against the San Francisco Giants in his final outing of the regular season. He walked four and struck out eight. He was inefficient, needing 104 pitches to secure 15 outs. After the game, he said he was “tinkering” with his mechanics, something he is always willing to do. He insisted he was not concerned about working on his delivery so close to the postseason.
Buehler opposed the Nationals twice this season. On May 11, he pitched seven scoreless innings in a Dodgers loss at Nationals Park. On July 28, he surrendered seven runs (four earned) on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings at Dodger Stadium.