Buehler Impresses in His First Start

Saturday, February 29, 2020
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2020

Saturday, on a beautiful afternoon in the desert, the Dodgers played two games: one against the Arizona Diamondbacks and one against the Colorado Rockies. The Dodgers dominated in both.

Saturday, Walker Buehler made his 2020 spring training debut, where he retired all six Rockies to face him.

From the start, people thought Buehler was destined for greatness. At 25, Buehler took over the spot of the ace of the Dodger starting rotation. With 97-miles-per-hour fastball, a large curveball, and an above-average changeup, the opposition often finds him unhittable.

Though the young right-hander has had a successful Major-League career beginning in September 2017, Buehler has had hardships to overcome to be a successful Major-League starter. Growing up in Lexington, Kentucky, Buehler excelled in amateur baseball. Although the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted him out of high school, Buehler elected to attend Vanderbilt University, where he participated in the 2014 College World Series. While pitching for Team USA, he excelled.

After signing with the Dodgers when the organization selected Buehler as the 24th overall in the 2015 Major-League draft, Buehler required Tommy John surgery. He worked hard to regain his pre-surgery form. After he recovered, he went through the Dodger Minor-League system rapidly.

In his Major-League debut on September 6, 2017, he pitched two scoreless innings against the Colorado Rockies. Nevertheless, he did not perform well in his first month in the Major Leagues.

In 2018, although he began the season in Triple-A, he made his first Major-League start on April 23, 2018, against the Miami Marlins and hurled five scoreless innings. He started and pitched six innings in a combined no-hitter against the San Diego Padres. Every time he took the ball, he built confidence in himself and manager Dave Roberts.

He pitched exceptionally well in the tie-breaking game in 2018 against the Colorado Rockies that gave the Dodgers the National League Western Division title. He performed magnificently in Game 3 in the 2018 World Series.

Under no circumstance, Buehler is overwhelmed. He welcomes the challenge of performing in crucial games. His competitive nature fuels him to better. Slowed by shoulder soreness during 2019 spring training, Buehler struggled with his control throughout April, but with every start, he improved. In a game against the Colorado Rockies, he became the first Dodger pitcher to strike out more than fifteen batters with no outs.

During the NLDS against the Washington Nationals, Buehler shone in his two starts. If he remains healthy, it is conceivable to see Buehler pitching a no-hitter and winning the National League Cy Young award.

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