When the Los Angeles Dodgers completed a blockbuster deal for Max Scherzer at the MLB trade deadline, it gave the club a fourth former Cy Young Award winner. The 37-year-old joined Clayton Kershaw, David Price and Trevor Bauer as pitchers in the organization who have earned the honor.
While each of the aforementioned hurlers boast impressive résumés, the Dodgers’ collection of talented arms extends beyond those names. Walker Buehler, in the midst of a career year, arguably has been the club’s most reliable starter this season.
The right-hander enters Tuesday with an 11-1 record, 2.19 ERA, 3.13 FIP and 0.90 WHIP in 135.2 innings pitched (21 starts). Assuming he finishes the year strong, Buehler could find himself in the picture to win a first career National League Cy Young Award.
His prime competition is New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom, who was in the midst of an unworldly season before being shut down due to right forearm tightness.
“You can’t take anything away from Jacob and what he does. But I will say just the ability to post and what Walker has done this year in totality, shouldn’t go unnoticed,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of where Buehler should stand in the NL Cy Young Award race.
“I think part of a Cy Young is performance and dominance, but also it’s the ability to post. And Walker has done that as well if not better than anybody, as far as going deep into games and performing.”
As Roberts alluded to, Buehler has been the definition of consistent this season. He began the year by logging at least six innings pitched in 16 consecutive starts before his streak was broken on July 5.
Buehler has since responded by throwing at least six innings in each of his last four outings. Overall on the season, he has averaged 6.4 innings per start, which places him among the league leaders.
Buehler named NL Pitcher of the Month for July 2021
For as good as Buehler has been this season, he particularly was effective in July. It translated to earning NL Pitcher of the Month honors, becoming the first Dodger to do so since Hyun-Jin Ryu in May 2019.
Buehler went 3-0 with a 1.67 ERA and 0.90 WHIP over five starts, collecting 38 strikeouts over 32.1 innings pitched across those outings.
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