Walker Buehler Appreciative Of Opportunity Dave Roberts Provided To Pitch Complete Game, Make Dodgers Franchise History With Career-High 16 Strikeouts
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler against the Colorado Rockies
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

Walker Buehler took the mound Friday night against the Colorado Rockies having gone 2-0 with a 0.41 ERA and 0.45 WHIP in three starts during June. Buehler additionally entered play in the midst of a scoreless streak of 17 innings.

The Los Angeles Dodgers ultimately needed a walk-off home run from Matt Beaty, but the night equally belonged to Buehler. The young right-hander put together the best start of his young career, making history along the way.

Buehler had six strikeouts, including five in a row, and had thrown just 38 pitches to take a perfect game into the fourth inning. He lost it on a two-out home run by Nolan Arenado, and later surrendered a solo shot to Charlie Blackmon as well.

Buehler nevertheless set a career high with 16 strikeouts and threw his first complete game. Following the exhilarating win, he thanked Dodgers manager Dave Roberts for allowing him to take the mound in the ninth inning, via SportsNet LA:

“It’s just checking another box for me. It’s important for me. I want to eat innings, I want to throw 200 innings, that’s stuff you have to do. Thanks to Doc for letting me go back out there. Obviously could’ve pinch-hit for me pretty easily but he believed in me and left me out there.”

The Dodgers had an innings limit on Buehler last season and while they allowed for an increase this year, reaching 200 may be more than the organization intends for the 24-year-old.

There wasn’t any action in the Dodgers bullpen as Buehler set down the Rockies in order in the eighth inning. That eventually changed as Pedro Baez began to warm up, but Buehler batted for himself in the bottom of the eighth and hit a one-out single.

After nothing came of it, Buehler worked around Blackmon’s base hit and struck out the side in the ninth. His previous career high was 12 strikeouts, coincidentally set against the Rockies in a start at Dodger Stadium last September.

This time around, Buehler became the first Dodgers pitcher with 16 strikeouts against zero walks in a game during the Modern era (since 1900). He additionally is the only pitcher in Dodgers franchise history with more than 15 strikeouts and no walks since the mound was moved to its current distance in 1893.

Buehler’s 16 strikeouts are the most by any Dodgers pitcher since Hideo Nomo had 17 against the Florida Marlins on April 13, 1996.

Buehler’s 16 strikeouts are tied for the third-most by a pitcher in a single game in franchise history, behind Ramon Martinez (18) in 1990, Sandy Koufax (18) in 1959 and 1962, Dazzy Vance (17) in 1925 and Nomo.

Buehler had Rockies batters guessing throughout his start, and tied for second-most by a starter in the last 10 seasons with 15 swinging strikeouts.