Dodgers News: Walker Buehler Frustrated By Inconsistency

Walker Buehler wasn’t able to fully get on track in another start as he allowed two home runs that put the Los Angeles Dodgers in a 4-0 deficit they eventually overcame before Craig Kimbrel blew his first save of the season in a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Buehler settled in from the fourth inning on by only allowing two hits as he got through six, but the 27-year-old again came away disappointed in his performance. “A little better at the end than the beginning, obviously, but just disappointing,” Buehler said after the game.

“Our team is playing so well, claws back from the hole I put us in, it’s just disappointing.”

Much of Buehler’s issues remain tied to an inability to find success with his four-seam fastball that has not been the same swing-and-miss pitch from prior seasons.

“I want it to be this big fastball that it’s been in my career so far, but it’s just not there,” Buehler said. “Trying to command it obviously is the big thing I think a little lax in terms of where I’m throwing it and putting it in some spots where guys can take advantage and drive it. It’s just not the point.”

Opposing hitters now have a .367 batting average against Buehler’s fastball, and in Monday’s loss, he failed to generate one whiff on the 31 he threw. His record stands at 6-1, but since May 1, Buehler’s ERA has risen a full run and now sits at 3.22 on the season.

“I don’t think there’s any excuse for it. I came into camp, felt like I was in shape, arm felt good and throwing the ball well, I thought,” Buehler said. “I think at some point you’ve got to just kind of figure it out, and I think that’s where we’re at.”

Buehler has been working to fine-tune his mechanics with Dodgers pitching coach Mark Prior but the same issues continue to prevent the right-hander from being at his best.

“We’ve kind of talked forever about my delivery, and it’s kind of a high-maintenance delivery. Obviously I’m not 6’6 and 250 pounds. I’m a smaller guy and I’ve got to generate somehow,” Buehler said.

“There’s mechanical stuff, mental stuff, usage and kind of all these puzzle pieces. At the end of the day I just want to be better and help our team win games.

“Tonight I didn’t do that, and I feel like I haven’t really been doing that to the level that I want to anyway. I’ve had some success, mostly because our team is really good and kind of covered my ass. We’ll get better and keep working.

“I’m not a guy that really hangs onto stuff too long, but yeah, I’m frustrated. I know guys are frustrated in there at kind of what I’m producing, and that sucks.”

Buehler changed pitch usage

After allowing four runs during his first three innings, Buehler and catcher Will Smith changed up their sequencing following the Pirates’ two homers.

Buehler shied away from his four-seamer and only threw seven of them after the third inning. It translated into holding the Pirates at four runs when primarily using his cutter to get ahead of hitters.

Unfortunately, Buehler’s spin rates were down across the board, but he continues to remain in the 90th percentile in chase rate.

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