The spotlight is nothing new for Walker Buehler. Last year, in a game 163 to take the division, the Dodgers turned to the then 24-year-old. He showed he was up to the task, as he threw 6 2⁄3 scoreless innings while allowing only one hit, as the Dodgers defeated the Rockies to win the NL West.
The spotlight will be on Buehler yet again tonight, as he’ll take the mound in game 1 of the National League Division Series. “An honor, something along those lines,” Buehler said when asked about being named the starter for game 1. “I think the [pitching] order is less significant than people make it out to be. I’m just excited to get to pitch.”
Buehler finished the season going 14-4, posting an ERA of 3.26 with a WHIP of 1.04. He has 215 strikeouts in 182 1⁄3 innings of work.
It’s not shock that the Dodgers will turn to Buehler at home, as he thrived while pitching at Dodger Stadium this season. He went 6-1 with a 2.86 ERA at Chavez Ravine. His WHIP was 0.887, and had a strikeout-to-walk ratio of better than 11-to-1.
This will be the fifth career postseason appearance for Buehler. Though he was with the club in 2017, he cracked the roster for the first time in 2018. His first game was last year on the road in Atlanta of the NLDS, where he allowed five runs in five innings. They turned to him in game 7 of the NLCS versus the Brewers, where he allowed only one run in 4 2⁄3 innings of work.
His most recent postseason outing was in a marathon 18-inning game 3 against the Red Sox in the World Series last season. He threw seven scoreless innings while striking out seven and allowing only two hits.
Matching Buehler in game 1 will be Patrick Corbin for the Nationals. He’s made 11 career appearances at Dodger Stadium, posting a 2.97 ERA. He faced the Dodgers only once this season, but it was one of the better starts of his season. In seven innings on the road, he held LA scoreless, while striking out eight and allowing only three hits.
This will be the first career postseason start for Corbin.
First pitch is at 5:37 p.m. PT on TBS.