If there are any Los Angeles Dodgers fan wondering who the ace of the pitching staff has been since the start of 2019, it’s time to join the Walker Buehler fan club.
OK, fine, 2019 was a bit of a toss-up between the young right-hander and Clayton Kershaw, but Buehler utterly dominated that postseason while Kershaw was tagged by the Nationals, who eventually beat the Dodgers in the NLDS.
Now, over the last two seasons, it’s clear Buehler is top dog, and he fully cemented himself as such with a dominant July.
The flamethrowing righty managed to carry the staff without Kershaw (who made one start), Trevor Bauer (who made zero) and Dustin May (who’s out for the season). He weathered the storm with bullpen games, Tony Gonsolin and David Price.
Dodgers ace Walker Buehler needs to be more prominent in the Cy Young conversation.
Buehler was named NL pitcher of the month after going 3-0 with a 1.67 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 38 strikeouts in five starts (32.1 innings). Opponents hit just .177 against him. He walked only nine batters.
He tossed 14.1 innings of one-run ball against the division-leading Giants, but the bullpen and offense let him down in the first contest, which was lost 5-3. His lone blemish was a loss to the Marlins, which probably would have been avoided if an error didn’t extend a two-out rally.
Let’s dive a bit deeper into Buehler’s numbers for the season, though, to further prove he’s the main man for LA’s staff.
The 27-year-old has made 21 starts. EIGHTEEN of them have been quality outings. He leads MLB with a .917 winning percentage (11-1 record). He’s allowed 0.9 home runs per nine innings and just 2.1 walks per nine innings. He has a 177 ERA+ (fourth in MLB) and is eighth in MLB with a 3.13 FIP. He’s second (only to Bauer) with a .233 BABIP.
LA was a mediocre 13-12 in the month of July, but how many other teams would have remained above .500 had they lost two of their best starters (Bauer and Kershaw) and arguably their best player to the IL (Mookie Betts) while using an overworking bullpen? Not many!
The stability that Buehler provides is undeniable. He’s proved it on the biggest stage in the postseason since his 2018 debut. It’s time fans start recognizing him as the face of the rotation.
National League MVP Odds
Buehler might be the Dodgers’ most valuable arm, but according to WynnBET, the team now has two of the top three potential NL MVP winners.
Fernando Tatis Jr. of the Padres continues to lead the pack (-170), but Trea Turner (+325) and Max Muncy (+400) are trying to track down their division rival. Tuesday night against the Astros will be their next best chance to make headway.