While the Los Angeles Dodgers came through with numerous big hits in the postseason, it was their pitching staff that ultimately got them past the finish line.
In 18 postseason games, the Dodgers’ collection of arms compiled a 3.42 ERA and 1.16 WHIP over 160.2 innings while holding opposing batters to a .217 batting average. Contributing to that success was Walker Buehler, who lived up to his reputation as a big-game pitcher.
He made five starts through the October run, going 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 25 innings. The 26-year-old seemingly saved his best for last, logging six frames in each of his final two starts.
The first of those came with the Dodgers on the brink of elimination against the Atlanta Braves in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. He then held the Tampa Bay Rays to just one run in Game 3 of the World Series, allowing L.A. to take a 2-1 lead.
Buehler noted that the postseason baseballs felt different than those used during the regular season, believing seams were lower in a change that aided him, via Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated:
“The seams were lower,” he said. “I don’t have big hands, so the lower seams allow me to my fingers around the ball more.”
While it isn’t confirmed if MLB used different baseballs for the postseason, a lot of players believed that was the case last year. After a regular season that saw a record number of home runs hit, the ball didn’t travel as well during the playoffs, leading some to think it was altered.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred denied this was the case, however, reiterating the balls were manufactured with the same materials from regular season batches.
Buehler reveals treatment for blisters
Buehler battled through blister issues for the majority 2020 season and was twice placed on the 10-day injured list because of them. However, he progressed with each outing and began throwing his cutter with more frequency.
Buehler did not entertain questions when pressed for specifics on the course of his treatment, but it was recently revealed he used low-light laser therapy to manage the blisters.
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