The Los Angeles Dodgers had their modest two-game winning streak snapped by the San Diego Padres on Monday night, but a silver lining could be found with Walker Buehler managing to get through the targeted five innings.
The outing was only Buehler’s second this season, but of more importance he continues to build up. Buehler did not appear in any intrasquad or exhibition games during Summer Camp, instead only throwing bullpen sessions and in simulated settings.
“I thought overall, very positive. We got the pitch count up, got him through five. Even that last inning, he started spinning the breaking ball better,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after the loss.
“Given he didn’t have his best command tonight, and for him to still give us five and keep us in the ballgame, I thought was pretty good. He’s going to be fine. Now we can kind of loosen the reins more his next turn and win a baseball game.”
Buehler making progress toward being full-go will eventually give the Dodgers their first look at their top two starters together. Clayton Kershaw returned from the 10-day injured list on Sunday and fired 5.2 scoreless innings.
“When you get Clayton back and you can extend him his next turn, you get Walker back and extend him his next turn. Oh man, I couldn’t be more comfortable or confident with our starters,” Roberts said.
“And obviously the way Strip is throwing the baseball, Dustin and Julio. Going forward we’re in a really good place.”
Back in Spring Training the Dodgers again were looking at a scenario of having a surplus of starting pitchers at their disposal. However, that began to change when David Price opted out of the 2020 season.
Kershaw then was placed on the IL on Opening Day, and less than a week later Alex Wood was sidelined by shoulder inflammation. Suddenly, the Dodgers were having to rely on on their seventh and eighth starters much earlier than anticipated.
Ross Stripling helped shoulder the load, which was of particular benefit as Dustin May, Julio Urias and Tony Gonsolin failed to provide any length. May will get an opportunity to change that Tuesday, and Urias likely on Friday in the first game of the home-stand.
Buehler laments lack of command
Although Buehler got through five innings, he did so while allowing three home runs. “Just not enough strikes or good counts for me,” he said. “I made mistakes and they got them out of the ballpark. Offense kept us in there, but I was just not good enough.
“I was good with our plan, good with pitch calls and things like that. Just didn’t execute the way we would want. I’ve got to get in the zone more and start getting in better counts. I expect a lot out of myself. I think me being good is important. I just want to be better.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in our shows, and more!