Walker Buehler took the mound in the series finale against the Miami Marlins with a perfect record at Dodger Stadium this season. Early indications were Buehler was going to avoid suffering his first loss.
Max Muncy’s two-run home run gave the Los Angeles Dodgers a lead in the bottom of the first inning and they never looked back. It was sandwiched between Buehler collecting six strikeouts through two scoreless innings.
“It was a good job by our scouting team and Barnes putting me in positions that I could be aggressive and knowing alleys I could throw from,” Buehler said.
“I think when you spin the fastball alright, if you can get some angle on it, it’s going to help you out. That’s kind of what I’ve been searching for and found it a little bit today by driving the ball down.”
He finished with 11 strikeouts and improved to 9-1 this season. With a slew of starts still ahead in 2019, Buehler already has a career high with nine wins. He’s 9-1 thus far and leading the Majors in winning percentage.
Though, that’s not of much focus. “I’ve been very lucky,” Buehler began.
“When I’ve pitched poorly, the team has helped me out and kept me out of the loss column. I think record is one of those things that’s a little bit oversold. Trying to go out and produce quality starts is the big thing for me, and I’ve been alright at that so far.”
Buehler has 12 quality starts in 19 of his outings this season. Most of his struggles came at the beginning of the campaign, as the 24-year-old worked to knock off some rust that he wasn’t able to work through during a shortened Spring Training.
“He was really good. Really good,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Buehler’s peformance against the Marlins. “The fastball lane was consistent, getting the ball glove side, just really out of the gates he was commanding down and away, that low dart to the right-hander hitter.
“And the cutter off of that, breaking ball off of that, getting ahead of guys all day; the called strike, swing and miss. He could essentially do whatever he wanted to. There’s a quiet intensity with Walker.
“When you’re seeing 95 to the 98 (mph), I think that gets people excited. When he takes the mound, and that first inning when he’s got that glove-side command, you know it’s the makings for a good day.”