The Dodgers season will either end today or extend for at least one more series. Their playoff hopes are being put into the hands of Walker Buehler.
Pressure. Some athletes shrink in it and some rise to the occasion and stars are born from it. Luckily for the Dodgers, Walker Buehler has the reputation of being one of those athletes who rise to the occasion when presented with pressure-packed situations. In 2018, as a rookie and his first full season, Buehler pitched in three of the Dodgers’ most important games of the season.
While game 163 of the 2018 season was not a win or go home game, it would’ve put the Dodgers at a big disadvantage if they had lost and been forced to go through a wild card game. Instead, Walker Buehler put the Dodgers on his back and pitched 6 2/3 innings of one-hit ball to defeat the Colorado Rockies and propel the Dodgers to another NL West title.
Then there was game seven of the 2018 NLCS. That was an official elimination game and Buehler did not have his best start but he held the Brewers to one run that came on a solo home run by Christian Yelich. Walker allowed six hits in 4 2/3 innings but he allowed just the one run which kept the Dodgers with a 2-1 lead that they would never relinquish.
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In the World Series, Walker Buehler pitched the Dodgers back into the series with a dazzling seven-inning two-hit performance in which he struck out seven Red Sox hitters. While it was not an elimination game, Boston had a 2-0 series lead which would have essentially ended the series if they won game three and went up 3-0. Instead, Walker Buehler dominated and the Dodgers eventually won on a Max Muncy walk-off home run.
That World Series start provided one of the best Dodger GIF’s ever as Buehler walked off the mound and Sandy Koufax can be seen standing and applauding in the stands. Koufax himself was a dominant playoff pitcher and Buehler seems poised to become the next Dodger pitcher who shines under the bright lights of October.
Buehler will be making his second start of the NLDS against the Washington Nationals and look to shut them down yet again. In his game one start, he allowed just one hit and three walks to keep the Nationals scoreless over six innings.
There is no doubt that Buehler will give the Dodgers a stellar start, as he has shown in the past, he is built for moments like this. All he needs is the Dodger offense to give him a few runs to work with and that would be enough for the Dodgers to move on to their fourth consecutive NLCS appearance.