Walker Buehler: Starting For Dodgers On Opening Day Is ‘An Honor’

The Los Angeles Dodgers begin their 2022 season on the road against the Colorado Rockies just like last season, but for the first time, Walker Buehler is making an Opening Day start.

There was some thought Buehler would replace Clayton Kershaw as the Dodgers’ Opening Day starter 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.

Kershaw took the ball on Opening Day at Coors Field last season, which lined up Buehler to make start for the home opener. That allowed Kershaw to soak in the World Series ring ceremony at Dodger Stadium.

But now with Buehler starting the first game of the season, the 27-year-old right-hander is grateful for the opportunity, via Jack Harris of the L.A. Times:

“I think we all dream of getting to the big leagues and I think for me, everything else besides that has been icing on the cake,” Buehler said. “It’s a cool opportunity and an honor and I’m looking forward to it.”

Kershaw has started Opening Day for the Dodgers a franchise-record nine times and the team is 7-2 in those outings, with their losses coming to the San Francisco Giants in 2018 and Rockies last year.

Buehler is lined up to start the Dodgers’ home opener this season against the Cincinnati Reds on April 14.

Along with Buehler being the Dodgers’ most talented pitcher at this point, he is also the most stretched-out starter, which likely played a factor in Roberts’ decision.

In his last outing, Buehler threw 53 pitches over 4.2 innings and joked it was the biggest workload he’s ever had for Spring Training as a whole. Buehler then threw 74 pitches during a B game on Saturday.

With a shortened Spring Training due to the three-month-long MLB lockout, teams will be extra cautious with their pitchers by trying to avoid building them up too quickly.

Buehler still considers Kershaw the Dodgers’ ace

Although Kershaw is no longer a top-five starting pitcher as his career nears an end, Buehler still believes the future Hall of Famer is the Dodgers ace as long as he continues to wear the uniform.

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