Walker Buehler may only be 26 years of age and early into his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but he has already built up a reputation as one of the best big-game pitchers in baseball.
Buehler first pitched under the bright lights in 2018 when he tossed 6.2 shutout innings, allowing just one hit against the Colorado Rockies in Game 163 to help the Dodgers clinch the National League West.
Since then, Buehler has pitched in 11 postseason games, yielding a 2.35 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with 83 strikeouts and 22 walks in 61.1 innings. He was outstanding for the Dodgers during their 2020 World Series run, pitching to a 1.80 ERA in five postseason starts.
That included a gem in Game 3 of the Fall Classic to help L.A. defeat the Tampa Bay Rays. During a recent appearance on Barstool’s “Starting 9” podcast, Buehler explained why he believes he has been able to have so much success in big games during his young career:
“I think there’s two ways look at pitching in big games and things like that. One, you can’t approach it at all. It’s the same game, it’s the same thing. Guys do that and are very successful. I personally want to make it as big in my head as I can. I want to make it feel huge, because I feel like I’m better if the world kind of revs me up and I have to slow myself down. I’m not very good at getting myself going.
“If I went out to a park and just tried to throw to people, it would be a little more difficult than a playoff game for me just mentally. I’m big into making it feel as big as you can and whatnot. I just enjoy the playoffs, man. I have so much fun playing in those games. Our team, the energy is just so different. Any team that’s been in the playoffs will tell you how different it feels. I think most of our guys kind of embrace that. We just have a lot of fun, man.”
In an important postseason game, it’s hard to argue that any pitcher in baseball is more suited to take the mound right now than Buehler.
Buehler believes 2020 postseason balls were different
What makes Buehler’s 2020 postseason even more impressive is that he was dealing with blisters on his pitching hand that severely limited him in the regular season.
He was able to pitch through it though, which was an even taller task considering he recently revealed a belief the 2020 postseason balls were different than the ones used in the regular season.
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