In a rematch between two of the best rookie starting pitchers in all of baseball, Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler put forth what was arguably the most dominant start of his young career against Jack Flaherty and the St. Louis Cardinals.
Over eight shutout innings — the most he’s logged in any one outing — Buehler yielded only two hits and tallied nine strikeouts. He retired the first 13 batters of the game and issued only two walks to boot.
Buehler’s gutsy performance propelled the Dodgers to an important 3-0 victory, allowing the club to jump into a tie with the Cardinals for the second National League Wild Card spot. Los Angeles also gained a full game on the first-place Colorado Rockies in the NL West standings.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts offered high praise for Buehler, pointing to his outing as one of the most impressive of the year for the Dodgers, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“This was probably the best pitching performance of the year. Not only Walker, just across the board. Against a very good club in St. Louis, on the road, and obviously what’s at stake right now with each game. He wanted this moment. Just coming out firing, the command, just domination. He kind of did what he wanted to do. … It was really fun to see him rise to this occasion.”
With Buehler in the zone for much of the game, Roberts entrusted him to pitch into the eighth inning for the first time in his career. He ran into some control issues but nevertheless struck out Cardinals leadoff Matt Carpenter to end the threat.
Buehler was clearly amped for his opportunity to pitch in a playoff-like environment, as his fastball velocity never dropped at any point in the game. He attributed his success to the high stakes that were on the line and the Dodgers’ push for another postseason appearance.