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Walker Buehler Is So Damn Good

There are better pitchers in baseball than Walker Buehler, but I don’t know if anyone feels stuck out of time the way he does. In an age where pitchers get pulled after four innings, Buehler feels old-fashioned. The numbers show that he fits exceptionally well in the current era. His stuff is electric, his ERA is low, and his strikeout numbers are high, but Walker Buehler eats up innings. He’s one of maybe 10 (and I’m being generous with that number) pitchers capable of pitching 200 innings nowadays. And last night against the Diamondbacks, he had one of the best starts of his career, pitching a complete-game shutout, giving up only three hits, walking none, and striking out ten along the way. He threw 108 pitches. He didn’t look fatigued, his arm didn’t fall off, and he finished what he started. That’s the sign of a true ace.

For a guy who has a World Series ring and 2 All-Star appearances, Buehler almost feels underrated to me. Since becoming a full-time starter at the major league level in 2018, he has never been bad. In fact, he’s been dominant from the jump. And he’s clutch also. His 2.94 postseason ERA doesn’t do him justice. He was lights out during the Dodgers' 2020 World Series run and pitched them to a division title with a shutout performance in game 163 against the Rockies in 2018. 

Playing for the Dodgers has to be fun, especially if you’re a pitcher. Even if you have an off night, you have a lineup full of studs capable of backing you up. I can’t imagine there is a team that provides better run support. And while I acknowledge that wins and losses can be deceiving for a pitcher (Jacob deGrom helped prove this) there is something to be said about a guy who wins all the time. Walker Buehler is 42-14 in his career, and he’s 19-5 since the beginning of 2020 with a 2.61 ERA. I’ve watched every start of Justin Verlander’s career, dating back to when I was in 5th grade, and while there are pitchers who I think have been more dominant, Buehler is the closest the current generation is going to get to Verlander. There will be a Cy Young plaque in his trophy case very soon.