Although the Washington Nationals went into their series with the Los Angeles Dodgers mired in a four-game losing streak, the pitching probables certainly brought about plenty of intrigue. The most notable of which was Saturday’s matchup between Walker Buehler and Max Scherzer.
Their statistics this season aren’t meeting expectations, but there is no denying the talent the right-handers possess. That was on full display as Buehler and Scherzer both navigated their way through traffic early to keep the game locked in a scoreless tie.
In Buehler’s case, he benefitted from Victor Robles wandering off second base as Juan Soto began his jog down the first-base line after drawing a walk that should’ve loaded the bases. Instead, Robles was picked off and the Nationals were left with runners at the corners and one out.
Buehler got through the inning unscathed but needed 22 pitches to do so. He managed to settle in and complete seven shutout innings.
On a personal level, Buehler came away pleased with his performance, via SportsNet LA
“I feel good. Executed pretty well for the most part, obviously a few hard-hit balls that I got lucky on that didn’t quite make it out. Overall, happy with it. … I think it’s another step in the right direction for me.”
If there was some regret, however, Buehler pointed to not having much of an argument to remain in the game after throwing 97 pitches by the time his spot came up to bat in the bottom of the seventh:
“I don’t know. I think I would’ve liked to have been in better position to do so. Obviously, hitting second in that inning puts you in kind of a tough spot. It’s that fringe line. I wish I would’ve saved five, six, eight pitches here and there. That’s the way this game goes.”
Although Buehler kept the Nationals off the board, he had the leadoff man reach in three of the first four innings. Buehler’s seven innings tied a season high set in his May 6 outing against the Atlanta Braves.
As he noted, there wasn’t much debate on the direction Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was going to head in. L.A. was ahead 2-0 at the time of Buehler’s exit, and despite the Nationals rallying for five runs in the eighth, it was a decision Roberts likely would make each time.
If there’s a positive takeaway for the Dodgers, it’s that Buehler continues to resemble his expected form as he gets further removed from an abbreviated Spring Training.