He doesn’t want to hear it, but Walker Buehler is likely the favorite to win the National League Cy Young Award.
After another dominant start on Saturday, Buehler added to his Cy-Young resume. He tossed seven innings on the road at Citi Field, allowing only one run while striking out 10. Buehler lowered his season ERA to 2.09, the best in all of baseball. Had he gotten any run support, he would have picked up his 13th win, which would have tied him for the big-league lead.
Although Buehler can add the most coveted pitching award in baseball to his career resume, he isn’t focused on that. When asked if winning the Cy Young Award motivates him, he said it doesn’t. Buehler is focused on helping the Dodgers get back to October.
“We got to make the playoffs,” he told reporters following the game. “My thing is to be a piece of that equation and push us to where we want to go. The individual stuff is cool, but when the team isn’t where we want be its kind of meaningless at this point.”
You absolutely love to hear it.
Buehler is currently having a career year. In addition to his ERA and win total, he’s fifth in the NL in strikeouts (163), fifth in WHIP (0.94) and fifth in opponents average (.189). He’s also second in innings pitched with 154 2⁄3. However, with how close every stat is, Buehler very well could be top three or two in those stats after his next start.
Saturday night was one of his best outings of the season for him. It was the 10th time this season he’s gone at least seven innings and the sixth time he’s done it while allowing one run or less. It’s the only start he’s done that with 10 strikeouts.
Things got a little wild in the seventh when he allowed the first two runners to reach base. Instead of being removed, Dave Roberts kept him in there and let him finish the inning.
“If they’re going to leave me in there and trust me to have the ball, the goal is to get out,” Buehler said. “Just try and grab whatever you have left and empty it. Luckily it worked out for us.”
Cody Bellinger called his teammate Buehler ‘intelligent’. He added that he always knows exactly what to do on the mound.
“He’s already got nasty stuff,” Bellinger said. “He knows that to do with the ball and that’s a good recipe right there.”
It certainly is.
Buehler has proven time and time again throughout his career that the moment is never too big for him. Whether it’s in the postseason or in a regular season game, the stage isn’t ever too bright for him. He’s proven to be one of the best big-game pitchers in all of baseball.
“He makes pitches when he needs to,” Roberts said. “He has a way of focusing and refocusing. In that spot, when he needs to make a pitch, he does.”
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