Dodgers News: Walker Buehler Moving On Mound Led To Improvement Vs. Reds

Walker Buehler’s first two starts after returning from his second Tommy John surgery for the Los Angeles Dodgers left a lot to be desired, which shouldn’t be surprising.

He allowed six earned runs on 11 hits with six strikeouts over 7.1 innings. It was far from perfect, but he had something to build on heading into his third start on Saturday against the Cincinnati Reds.

And on Saturday, everything seemed to finally click into place for the Dodgers’ one-time and possibly future ace. Buehler was absolutely dominant against the Reds lineup.

He tossed six shutout innings, allowing three hits and no walks with seven strikeouts. Even going back to some of his starts prior to tearing his UCL in 2022, it’s one of the best starts Buehler has had in years.

And while getting more comfortable and in game rhythm certainly helps, Buehler also made a physical adjustment that — while difficult — believes helped him find this success.

“We moved me on the rubber a little bit, where I used to stand, I could only do when I was young,” Buehler said. “That’s kind of a tough pill for me to swallow, but I moved on the rubber and a lot of things kind of clicked into place.

“The velo wasn’t as good as it has been, not that it was intentional, but I think I was trying to really command it and that’s kind of what happens. But I think there’s enough velo in there to still be pretty good. It just felt like it finally worked.”

The movement, Buehler described, involving setting his feet slightly forward, an adjustment that makes a massive difference in his eyes.

“Traditionally, I’d only had my toes basically on the rubber, and now my whole foot is on there,” Buehler said. “It doesn’t seem that drastic of a change, but I’ve pitched my whole career over there.

“And so moving probably six inches just makes everything look a little different. My body kind of lines up a little differently. We did that in the bullpen in San Fran and liked what happened and luckily it translated.”

Making such a drastic change after so many years in the big leagues is the kind of pill pitchers have to swallow after a second Tommy John surgery. But the ability to adjust on the fly and not let pride get in the way is the mark of a truly great pitcher.

Now, Buehler has something to build off of as he progresses through the 2024 season and works his way back towards being the Dodgers’ ace.

Walker Buehler acknowledges decline in stuff

Buehler admitted he is still a long way from getting back to his previous All-Star form, and questions if he can get back, but remains confident he can get hitters out.

Saturday’s start proved that he is trusting the process and going about things the right way.

Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and stay up to date on all Dodgers news and rumors!