While Walker Buehler managed to avoid the 10-day injured list to open the season, unlike Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill, he’s not been full-go in either of his two starts for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Buehler was slow-played in Spring Training in response to an extended workload the year prior. Health was not considered a concern, but the young right-hander admitted to his arm not quite feeling 100% at the opening of camp.
Buehler wasn’t particularly sharp against the Arizona Diamondbacks in his season debut, and wound up getting chased in the fourth inning. Saturday’s outing pitted Buehler against a familiar foe in the Colorado Rockies, but also a difficult pitching environment.
He wasn’t dominant but still managed to limit the Rockies to just one run — on a David Dahl homer — over five innings. Following the Dodgers’ 7-2 win, Buehler acknowledged he’s still working to find his groove, per Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times
“Obviously, this is still a little bit of a work-in-progress, but I threw some pitches that I liked today and liked the feel of,” Buehler said. “So we’ll get there.”
Facing the Rockies for the first time since a thrilling win in Game 163 at Dodger Stadium, Buehler threw 79 pitches (50 strikes) and scattered three hits. Colorado batters were on the attack early, leading to Buehler retiring the side in order on eight pitches in the first inning.
That proved to be key as he was stressed in the second. A double play negated a leadoff single, and a two-out walk was stranded when Pat Valaika went down swinging. The strikeout was Buehler’s first of the season and one of four on the night.
Buehler completed his outing by getting Charlie Blackmon to ground out to end the fifth, stranding two more baserunners.
On the season he’s allowed a combined eight hits, six runs, walked three and struck out four over eight innings.