Coming off a career-high in innings pitched last year, the Los Angeles Dodgers slow-played Walker Buehler in Spring Training. Toward the end of the spring it was revealed another reason for that was that Buehler’s arm wasn’t feeling quite 100% when he reported to Camelback Ranch.
Nevertheless, Buehler was only able to pitch in one Spring Training game, and so far through three regular-season starts, he has not looked like himself.
Buehler had another rough outing on Thursday afternoon against the St. Louis Cardinals, allowing five hits and five runs in four innings while striking out five and walking two.
After the game, Buehler admitted that he believes his abbreviated Spring Training is a reason that he is not pitching well, but he is not blaming his failures on that, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“I think it’s hard not to say it has something to do with it, but at the same time, I’m a starter in the Major Leagues. I can’t let that kind of stuff really affect it and I think it shouldn’t. I feel good enough that I should be having success. That really just boils down to me making pitches and I’m not doing that right now.”
So far in three starts, the right-hander is 1-0 with an 8.25 ERA and 1.50 WHIP with nine strikeouts and five walks in 12 innings.
The biggest issue for Buehler has seemed to be his command as he has not been able to put hitters away the way he did in 2018, missing badly out of the zone on some pitches as well as throwing some that catch too much of the plate.
Command issues are not surprising for a pitcher that hardly threw during the spring, but there really is nothing the Dodgers could have done differently if he had arm issues at the beginning of camp. The hope is that with each start, Buehler will get closer and closer back to his 2018 self.