Walker Buehler update might deliver final blow to Dodgers' 2023 World Series hopes

The Dodgers believed they were getting back an elite reinforcement until Friday arrived.
Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

First it was Dustin May. Then Noah Syndergaard was exiled for being terrible. Then Clayton Kershaw was lost to a shoulder injury (that's still lingering). Then Tony Gonsolin needed Tommy John surgery. The Julio Urías got arrested. Then Lance Lynn started becoming a piñata again.

Now, Walker Buehler won't return in 2023 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in August of last year. The right-hander had been attempting to expedite his rehab and get back on the mound for September to help the team's playoff push, but the Dodgers crushed fans with a tough announcement Friday.

Instead, Buehler will continue rehabbing with the goal of being ready for the duration of the 2024 season. Seems like there was a reason manager Dave Roberts didn't echo Buehler's initial optimism a few months ago.

Though Buehler wasn't expected to be the missing piece for a Dodgers World Series run, there was hope he'd be able to bring his electric stuff to the bullpen to help round out an ailing pitching staff. Any positive production on the pitching front would go a long way for the Dodgers right about now.

Not to mention, it was shaping up to be an encouraging development because of all that's gone wrong over the last few months. But when it rains it pours, and Buehler will join the list of "what ifs" for the 2023 season.

Walker Buehler update might deliver final blow to Dodgers' 2023 World Series hopes

The Dodgers might be leading the NL West by a hefty margin, but you saw what the Braves did to them. You saw how the Marlins handled their underwhelming pitching. Their offense alone cannot sustain an extended playoff run, as evidenced by the last two years (most notably 2021) -- and, don't forget, Mookie Betts may or may not be using crutches.

The overall energy surrounding the team continues to get knocked down in perpetuity. Buehler's upsetting news isn't exactly surprising, but the buildup over the last few months of optimistic updates certainly makes his extended absence hit even harder. To think just a few days ago fans were projecting him to be the third starter in a short playoff series ...

The Dodgers had their hands tied at the deadline (or at least felt that way) and went with marginal upgrades all over the roster despite a dire need to improve their pitching staff from top to bottom. They didn't want to overpay, but then they were left relying upon variables and situations out of their control.

Buehler was one of them ... and much like the rest, it turned against them. Call it a mix of bad luck and unrealistic expectations. That's the best we can describe it.