Walker Buehler is once again having a phenomenal season and emerged as the ace of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitching staff.
The 27-year-old leads all of baseball with a 2.02 ERA, and 23 quality starts, which is five more than the next closest. Buehler is second in wins and he is third in innings pitched with 169 and batting average against at .188.
Among National League starters, Buehler is third in WAR with 4.2 and his 3.13 FIP ranks fifth. Because of the injury to New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom, the race for the National League Cy Young Award is wide open, and Buehler is one of the most likely candidates who could win it.
However, even though the award is within his reach, Buehler has his attention on the Dodgers’ goals.
“It’s not something that I really care about. I want us to win games, win the division, get to the playoffs and do what we did last year and what we set out to do every year,” Buehler said. “If I somehow put us in a position and have that type of year to be in that conversation, that’s great.
“But at the end of the day it’s about winning games, and that’s my big focus.”
In his 26 starts this season, Buehler has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 21 of those and thrown at least six innings in 25 of them.
The lone start Buehler did not go a minimum of six innings came against the Miami Marlins on July 5, when he threw five frames and allowed four runs (three earned).
In Buehler’s last start, he was dominant against the Mets but let his competitiveness get the best of him as he was ejected by the home plate umpire after manager Dave Roberts had already pulled him from the game.
Buehler’s competition for Cy Young
Other contenders for the NL Cy Young Award include Zack Wheeler of the Philadelphia Phillies, Kevin Gausman of the San Francisco Giants, and Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Wheeler, who has a 2.77 ERA and 5.8 WAR, and Burnes, who has a 2.13 ERA and 5.7 WAR, are looking like Buehler’s top competition.
Buehler’s teammate, Max Scherzer, could also sneak into the discussion with a strong end to the season with the Dodgers. However, Scherzer is a step behind the other contenders due to his lack of innings pitched.
deGrom will also receive votes just because of how dominant he was before the injury (1.08 ERA, 1.24 FIP, 41.7 K-BB%, 4.9 WAR), but with only 92 innings this season, he is on the outside looking in.
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