The Los Angeles Dodgers are in big trouble in the NLCS.
The Atlanta Braves took the first two games of the series, and the Dodgers are in desperate need of a win.
L.A.’s next chance at getting on the board in the series will come Tuesday afternoon in Game 3.
Candidly, it’s a must-win game for the Dodgers.
The team is going to give Walker Buehler the ball in a massive spot.
Dave Roberts said #Dodgers will need to "lean on" Walker Buehler in Game 3 because of bullpen usage.
— Dodger Blue (@DodgerBlue1958) October 18, 2021
Will the righty rise to the occasion and get the Dodgers back on track in the NLCS?
Buehler Has Had A Gutsy Postseason So Far
Buehler has made two starts in the 2021 playoffs so far.
Both times out, he gave L.A. a chance to win.
His first outing came in Game 1 of the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants.
In that game, he turned in a quality start, pitching 6.1 innings of three-run ball before being pulled.
Unfortunately, the Dodgers’ bats were silenced, and L.A. took a 4-0 loss.
We saw Buehler again in Game 4 of that series.
The Dodgers called his number with their season on the line.
L.A. was facing elimination, and Buehler got the start on short rest.
He allowed just one run over 4.1 innings of work, and this time, L.A.’s bats showed up.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 13, 2021
The Dodgers walked away with a 7-2 win to force a Game 5, and obviously, Los Angeles prevailed in Game 5 game to advance to the NLCS.
When Buehler Takes The Mound In Game 3, It Won’t Be Unfamiliar Territory For Him
Like we just talked about, Buehler has already been thrust into some massive spots in these playoffs.
He has already pitched in an elimination game, and Tuesday’s NLCS Game 3 will likely have a similar vibe.
It’s a game the Dodgers need to win.
Fortunately, we know that the 27-year-old is perfectly capable of rising to the occasion.
He always seems to deliver in big spots, and with any luck, Game 3 of this NLCS will be no different.
All year long, this guy has been L.A.’s horse.
He made 33 starts in the regular season and pitched to a 2.47 ERA, 3.16 FIP, and 0.97 WHIP.
He even racked up a WAR of 6.7, which is a figure that will likely earn him some MVP votes.
The former first-round pick allowed three earned runs or fewer in 29 of his 33 starts in the regular season.
If he can do that again in Game 3, the Dodgers will have a fighting chance at getting their first win in the series.
Repeating as World Series champions is hard.
That’s what the Dodgers are trying to do, and they’re learning that it’s no small task.
On paper, L.A. is the best team remaining in the postseason, but the games are played for a reason.
The Braves are proving that nothing is a foregone conclusion in baseball.
The Dodgers are still alive in this series, but that’ll be hard to say if they lose Game 3.
It’s up to Buehler to make sure that doesn’t happen.
It’ll be an afternoon first pitch from L.A. on Tuesday.