LOS ANGELES — Any time that you join the likes of Sandy Koufax, you know you’re doing something well. On Saturday night, Walker Buehler become only the second Dodgers pitcher in franchise history to have multiple 15 strikeout games in a season. He joins the Hall-of-Famer Koufax, who did it in three different years.
Buehler was in command all night, throwing his second complete game of the season in LA’s 4-1 victory over the Padres. “It’s hard to imagine having more command than he did tonight,” manager Dave Roberts said of his starting pitcher. “He was ahead and as dominant as you can be.
“Looking at the way he was throwing the baseball. There was no stress, the delivery wasn’t compromised at all. He was getting ahead all night long. He had his way with a good lineup.”
Dominant might be an understatement. On the night, the 25-year-old had 15 strikeouts to go along with zero walks. This isn’t new, as earlier in the season, he had a 16 strikeout and zero walk performance. Buehler became the 3rd different pitcher in the MLB history to have multiple starts with 15 strikeouts and 0 walks in the same season. “It’s big,” Buehler said about getting another complete game. “It just signifies being efficient and doing my job on pitch count.”
Buehler threw 110 pitches on the night, with 80 of them going for strikes. He didn’t have a three-ball count until the final batter of the game. With his pitch count getting up there as he exited the eighth, there was no conversation with his manager about not going out there to finish things off in the ninth.
“That was something I didn’t think I needed to fight him,” Roberts said. “We were thinking the same thing.”
Buehler knew when he exited the mound in the eighth that he’d be going back out there as he looked to complete the game. “There was no real conversation,” he said. “He said keep going. Had he told me the opposite of that, we probably would have been in a little argument, but that’s okay, that’s the way it should be. Luckily I was in a good enough spot where I could go finish it.”
On the offensive side of things, the Dodgers were able to help their teammate by giving him some run support. They jumped on the board first in the fourth inning, thanks to a solo home run off the bat of Justin Turner. “It felt good,” Turner said. “Got just enough of it to be a homer, save my hamstrings from having to run out a double.”
It was the 17th homer of the season for Turner.
The Dodgers added three more runs in the fifth, thanks to four hits, a fielders choice and a forceout.
WP: Walker Buehler (10-2) 9 IP, 1 ER, 15 SO
LP: Cal Quantrill (4-3) 5 IP, 4 ER, 3 SO
Home runs: Justin Turner (17)
The Dodgers will look to get the series win tomorrow as Kenta Maeda takes the mound. First pitch is at 1:10 p.m. PT on SportsNet LA.