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Walker Buehler has adapted, and is getting great results

A detailed look at Buehler’s pitch adaptation in 2021

MLB: New York Mets at Los Angeles Dodgers
Walker Buehler pitches at Dodger Stadium against the New York Mets, Aug 20, 2021.
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Walker Buehler tends to come up in conversations about the league’s best pitchers as an afterthought, not posting outrageous stats like a Jacob DeGrom, and much less in the news than your Gerrit Coles and Yu Darvish(es?). When Buehler is discussed, the words “quietly dominating” might be used. But if you’re a Dodgers fan, you likely know there’s not much quiet about the way he’s pitching. There’s a sense of excitement when he takes the mound, a trust that you’re going to see something great. Does Buehler end up in some dicey situations with two on and no outs? Yep. Do Orel and Joe quip each time that Buehler “loves” these sweat-inducing situations, perhaps even prefers them? Yes.

Buehler is pitching with slightly less velocity overall this year, and is slightly down on his strikeout rate as well. So how is he — again, quietly — in contention for the Cy Young this year? Carmen Ciardiello breaks Buehler’s numbers down and how he’s adapted, and improved this year in a fascinating article over at Fangraphs: “Are Walker Buehler’s Run Suppression Gains For Real?”

Walker Buehler Strikeout % by Date
Buehler Strikeout % by Date for 2021
Image via Fangraphs

Dodgers Links

Kevin Acee at The San Diego Union-Tribune writes:

The Padres are all but finished in terms of the National League West race, on Sunday fell out of playoff position, on Monday fired their pitching coach and with 36 games remaining need a substantial and quick turnaround to keep the murmur of dissent in the clubhouse from becoming a roar.

In Acee’s words, the Dodgers won against the Padres the moment they beat out the Padres for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner. Pitching seems to have made all the difference, despite struggles to keep Dodgers starters healthy and consistent through the season.