The Los Angeles Dodgers survived the NL Wild Card Game, and their reward is a date with the 107-win San Francisco Giants in the NLDS.
The 27-year-old is no stranger to big games, so he should have no trouble working in an intense environment in San Francisco.
Here’s what you need to know going into his start.
Buehler Is Coming Off Of A Stellar Regular Season
L.A.’s starting rotation suffered countless setbacks throughout the 2021 season, but Buehler was one of the lone constants.
He stayed healthy all year long and gave the Dodgers some elite production.
The righty posted a 2.47 ERA, 3.16 FIP, and 0.97 WHIP over 33 starts.
He racked up a massive bWAR of 6.7, so don’t be surprised if he receives votes in both the Cy Young and MVP race.
Walker Buehler, 81mph Curveball (sword) and elevated 95mph Fastball (Sword K), Overlay. pic.twitter.com/ebfOuRm4R8
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 18, 2021
Buehler had some incredible runs throughout the regular season.
For example, from early July to late August, he had a streak of 10 consecutive starts in which he didn’t allow more than two runs in any outing.
He had a 1.33 ERA over that span.
Similarly, earlier in the year, he had a nine-start stretch in which he didn’t allow more than three runs in any outing.
His ERA was 1.53 over that span.
The Dodgers went 22-11 in Buehler’s starts in the regular season, which is really no surprise when you consider how dominant he was.
Will it carry over into the playoffs?
His Postseason Track Record Suggests That The Dodgers Are Giving The Ball To The Right Guy In Game 1 Of The NLDS
For a guy that’s just 27 years of age, Buehler has a lot of playoff experience under his belt.
Once he throws a pitch on Friday night, he’ll have appeared in four consecutive postseasons.
Every time he gets the ball on a big stage, he delivers big results.
He made five starts during L.A.’s run to the 2020 World Series title, and he dazzled, posting a 1.80 ERA, 2.55 FIP, and .196 opponent batting average.
He didn’t allow more than two runs in any of his starts in the 2020 playoffs.
Overall, he has made 11 career starts in the postseason, and he has registered a 2.35 ERA, 2.66 FIP, and .179 opponent batting average.
Highest K/9 in Postseason history (min. 50 IP)
1. Kenley Jansen (12.46)
2. Walker Buehler (12.18)
3. Gerrit Cole (11.57)
— New York Yankees Stats (@nyyankeesstats) October 5, 2021
There’s no need to explain how impressive that is.
How Does Buehler Match Up Against The Giants?
Buehler made six starts against the Giants in the regular season, and the results were fantastic.
He pitched to a 2.19 ERA and 0.97 WHIP against San Fran.
That’s a 107-win Giants team we’re talking about.
The Giants had the sixth-best run-scoring offense in baseball in the regular season, but none of that mattered to Buehler.
He clearly doesn’t mind facing them.
He may very well face San Francisco twice in this NLDS, but it doesn’t seem like he has any reason to dread the task.
All signs point to the former first-round pick having a memorable series against the Giants.
But hey, maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
We’ll have to wait and see what actually happens.
After all, the games are played for a reason.