Walker Buehler Named Dodgers’ Opening Day Starter Vs. Rockies

The Los Angeles Dodgers face question marks in their starting rotation heading into Opening Day of the 2022 season, but at minimum appear poised to be able to count on Walker Buehler, Julio Urias and Clayton Kershaw.

Buehler and Urias were locks for the rotation, but Kershaw remaining part of the group as well wasn’t solidified until he re-signed with the Dodgers days after the MLB lockout concluded. Kershaw then started for the Dodgers in their Cactus League opener against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Taking the ball in the first game doesn’t always equate to being an Opening Day starter, and that will be the case with the Dodgers this season.

According to David Vassegh of AM 570 L.A. Sports Radio, manager Dave Roberts named Walker Buehler the Dodgers’ Opening Day starter against the Colorado Rockies:

Buehler has only made one Cactus League start to Kershaw’s two thus far, but it was an extended outing. The right-hander threw 53 pitches over 4.2 innings and joked it was the biggest workload he’s ever had for Spring Training as a whole.

The Opening Day start will be a first for Buehler in his career. Kershaw has held the honor a Dodgers’ franchise-record nine times. The Dodgers are 7-2 in Kershaw’s Opening Day starts, with their losses coming to the San Francisco Giants in 2018, and Rockies last year.

There was some thought Buehler would replace Kershaw as the Dodgers’ starter for a season opener in 2020, but the longtime ace was given the nod in what Roberts deemed a ‘tough decision.’

Of course, Dustin May wound up making that start in place of Kershaw due to injury. That was also the case in 2019, when Hyun-Jin Ryu filled in.

Kershaw not starting Opening Day of the 2021 season was also a possibility, but he again took the ball and was afforded an opportunity to soak in the World Series ring ceremony at Dodger Stadium.

Buehler started the Dodgers’ first home game last year and is on schedule to take the mound against the Cincinnati Reds on April 14 for this season’s Dodger Stadium opener.

Buehler leaning on past experience

Coming off an unusual offseason and facing a shortened Spring Training, Buehler is leaning on a similar set of circumstances from 2020 as he works to prepare for the regular season.

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