Los Angeles Dodgers’ Walker Buehler is the Ace
By Jamaal Artis
It seems the Los Angeles Dodgers are in a declarative mood, as on Thursday, Dave Roberts declared on the Dan Patrick Radio Show that the Dodgers would win the 2022 World Series. So let me make my own declaration: Walker Buehler is the Dodgers ace.
The best evidence that the baton has been passed to Buehler occurred Thursday morning. The Dodgers announced Buehler as the Opening Day starter against the Colorado Rockies. It will be the first time Buehler gets the start on Opening Day.
It will also be the first time in a decade that Clayton Kershaw won’t get the ball for the opener when he hasn’t been injured, essentially starting a new era where Buehler is the acknowledged staff ace.
It should be no surprise. Kershaw has been hampered by injuries the last few years and could not suit up for the postseason in 2021. Buehler is coming off his best season, starting a career-high 33 games and posting career best numbers in wins (16), ERA (2.47), and innings (207.2).
The Dodgers are obviously looking to the future with Buehler, despite Kershaw’s legendary status on the staff.
Buehler took the news in stride and humbly deferred to Kershaw stating, “For me, if he’s wearing our jersey, then he’s our guy.”
Humility aside, manager Dave Roberts stated the obvious:
"“It’s one game, we all understand that,” Roberts said. “But it’s ceremonious … and that’s a feather in his cap for what he’s done over the last few years to get to this point. We knew, we hoped it was going to happen at some point. And I just think the timing is perfect.”"
That’s as much of a ringing endorsement of Buehler as the ace of the starting staff that you’re going to get.
With the Dodgers losing Max Scherzer to free agency and Kershaw perhaps on his last legs as a starter, the Dodgers’ staff will be more reliant on Buehler to repeat his 2021 season.
With Roberts guaranteeing a World Series title, the Dodgers better hope that Buehler won’t break down like he did this past October, for the mark of a true ace is reflected in postseason glory.
For Walker Buehler, that journey starts on Opening Day.