Dodgers: Three Things to Look Forward to in 2019

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LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 27: Enrique Hernandez #14 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a solo home run against Craig Kimbrel #46 of the Boston Red Sox (not in photo) in the ninth inning of Game Four of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 27, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 27: Enrique Hernandez #14 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a solo home run against Craig Kimbrel #46 of the Boston Red Sox (not in photo) in the ninth inning of Game Four of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 27, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 26: Walker Buehler #21 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after retiring the side on a strike out during the seventh inning against the Boston Red Sox in Game Three of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 26, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

What will Walker Buehler do for an encore?

The biggest bright spot of the 2018 season was the emergence of Walker Buehler.  While he is not yet the ace of the staff, he is going to be real soon.  As a rookie, Buehler posted a 2.62 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP while making a run at the NL Rookie of the Year award.  If it wasn’t for his fractured ribs that he got when hit by a comebacker, Buehler might have beat out Ronald Acuna for the award.

Buehler’s strong regular season didn’t stop in the postseason as he was very effective the playoffs after his initial rough debut against the Atlanta Braves.  For the postseason he pitched to a 3.80 ERA and 0.85 WHIP while gaining valuable experience pitching in game seven of the NLCS and pitching a World Series game.

In his lone World Series start, Walker pitched seven shutout innings allowing just two hits to the eventual World Series champions.  The start even produced an iconic moment when Sandy Koufax was seen applauding the young right hander as he walked off the mound for the last time.  Kershaw may be the de facto ace, but Walker Buehler will be gunning to claim the ace title in 2019.

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