Struggling with a blister on his right hand (that I can’t wait to get a few more close-ups of today) since late August, Walker Buehler landed on the IL twice during this shortened season. The problem limited him to just 36 2/3 IP across eight starts during the regular season.
Entering Saturday afternoon’s elimination game, Buehler is at 13 IP in his 3 postseason appearances. While he’s labored through many of those innings, walking 11 batters total in these playoffs, Buehler has continued his run of striking out at least seven batters in all nine of the postseason starts in his career so far.
Buehler picked up his curve usage in September and carried it into October, even with that small dip against the Padres.
The usage is near the highest of his career, save for his eight games in 2017 when he was throwing his fastball and curve a combined 89% of the time.
It also matches the same increase from last October’s 12 2/3 innings against the Nationals.
While it is at a 50% Whiff rate this season, on a sample of just 96 pitches, Buehler’s curve was responsible for three homers in six plate appearances to right-handed batters. Meanwhile, lefties went just 2-for-14, the hits being a single and a double, with seven strikeouts. In Game 1, Marcell Ozuna grounded out and lined out against the curve while Ozzie Albies grounded out and singled while also getting strikeouts against Dansby Swanson and Nick Markakis.
|1B||Freeman (L)||SS||Seager (L)|
|P||Fried (L)||P||Buehler (R)|
The Dodgers managed four hits and one run off of Fried in six innings, also striking out nine times. The man responsible for the one run, Enrique Hernandez, is back in the lineup after he homered on an 0-2 pitch off of Fried in Game 1.
All of that is also likely in part to Chris Taylor being out of the lineup, though he should be available if needed today.
I was going to take a look at how the Dodgers had been hitting left-handed pitching, but Eric Stephen did it already and much more detailed than I would have, so take a look at that here:
However, here’s a look at the Dodgers’ pitching staff through five games in this series. Tony Gonsolin is reportedly available only as a last resort as the Dodgers plan to start him in Game 7 should there be one.
|Game 1, |
|Baez||1/3 IP, 21||1 IP, 13||1 IP, 14|
|Buehler||5 IP, 100|
|Floro||2/3 IP, 16||1 2/3 IP, 35|
|Gonsolin||4 1/3 IP, 88|
|Gonzalez||1/3 IP, 4||2/3 IP, 22||1 IP, 17|
|Graterol||1 IP, 6||1/3 IP, 13||1 IP, 11|
|Jansen||1 IP, 10||1 IP, 12|
|Kelly||1/3 IP, 4||1 IP, 14|
|Kershaw||5 IP, 87|
|Kolarek||1 IP, 28||1 IP, 17|
|May||1 2/3 IP, 21||2 IP, 55|
|McGee||2/3 IP, 11||2/3 IP, 8||1/3 IP, 18|
|Treinen||1/3 IP, 20||2 IP, 19|
|Urias||5 IP, 101|
|Wood||1 2/3 IP, 40||1 IP, 29|
The bullpen has had plenty of issues in this series, but the combination of Joe Kelly, Blake Treinen, Pedro Baez, Victor Gonzalez, Brusdar Graterol and Kenley Jansen combined for seven strikeouts across seven innings with just one run allowed.
I can’t wait to see how Dave Roberts manages this tonight. Obviously Buehler giving the Dodgers six innings rather than the four or five he’s done so far in the postseason would be a start, but with Gonzalez and Graterol already pitching the past two games there may be a point in which there’s no great option tonight.
McGee giving the Dodgers a clean inning and maybe Treinen coming back after just 19 pitches yesterday seems like a start.
As for Jansen’s rebound last night, he spoke a bit about it this morning.
Daniel took a quick look at it below.
After the quotes from Alex Wood, this is something at least.
First pitch is set for 1:38 p.m. PT on FS1,.