Dodgers News: Walker Buehler Surprised By Call-Up For 2018 MLB Debut, First Career Start
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

In a mild surprise because of how cautious the Los Angeles Dodgers have been with their top prospects, the team is calling up Walker Buehler from Triple-A Oklahoma City for a start in the series opener against the Miami Marlins.

The right-hander is 1-0 with a 2.10 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 16 strikeouts and four walks in 13 innings over three starts with Oklahoma City. Buehler’s outing on Monday marks his 2018 debut and first career start for the Dodgers.

He joined the club last September as a call-up once active rosters expanded but was exclusively used out of the bullpen. It was a bit of an adjustment for Buehler, who prior to that didn’t have extensive experience in a relief role.

Considering the circumstances surrounding his latest promotion, Buehler explained it’s more unexpected when compared to his joining the Dodgers last season, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:

“This was more of a surprise than September was, obviously,” Buehler said. “There was a lot of buildup to September. It’s just different. Starting vs. being in the bullpen, I’m doing what I’ve done my whole career. This is almost a more settled feeling just because I’m going to get the ball for the first pitch tomorrow instead of later in the game.”

Though specifics were not provided, the Dodgers for all intents and purposes opted for Buehler over Brock Stewart, who is scheduled to start Tuesday for Oklahoma City. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had previously ruled out a bullpen game or calling on a reliever to start.

In his eight relief appearances last season, Buehler went 1-0 with a 7.71 ERA, 5.94 FIP and 2.04 WHIP. In addition to Monday, it’s plausible Buehler will take the mound in one of the doubleheader games against the San Francisco Giants on Saturday.