Buehler trending toward a masterpiece

At the beginning of the postseason MLB listed the top 50 players to watch in the postseason and for some reason the ace of the team most favored to win the World Series didn’t make the cut. Evidently the list was made of players who had more successful 2020 seasons and not based on any historical data on postseason performance. Pitchers like Ryu/Kenta made the list but the ace of the Dodgers did not. We will take a look at all 50 players that MLB felt were more important than Walker after the postseason is over.

Part of it was understandable, because of his blister, Buehler had barely pitched in Sept, but on the other hand he had barely pitched so that he could pitch in the postseason where Walker has historically had great success.

Coming into the 2020 postseasn this is the historical record for Buehler. Outside of his first two starts he had been a dominant

Year    Series Opp Rslt  IP H ER BB SO Pit GSc
2018   NLDS g3 ATL L5-6 5.0 2  5  3  7  77  47
2018   NLCS g3 MIL L0-4 7.0 6  4  1  8 100  56
2018   NLCS g7 MIL W5-1 4.2 6  1  0  7  73  55
2018     WS g3 BOS W3-2 7.0 2  0  0  7 108  80
2019   NLDS g1 WSN W6-0 6.0 1  0  3  8 100  75
2019   NLDS g5 WSN L3-7 6.2 4  1  3  7 117  66
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/23/2020.

We all remember the brilliant game he threw against the 2019 World Champion Nationals with Kershaw getting the last out in the 7th to preserve the lead, only to let it slip away in the 8th.

In 2020 his postseason work has improved with each game as his blister has improved. The control issues that had plagued his first three starts disappeared in the NLCS game six. Working on four days rest, we can expect Walker to keep his trend going and give the Dodgers a masterpiece in game three.

Year    Series  Date Opp Rslt  IP H ER BB SO HR Pit GSc
2020   NLWC g1 Sep30 MIL W4-2 4.0 3  2  2  8  1  73  54
2020   NLDS g1  Oct6 SDP W5-1 4.0 2  1  4  8  0  95  58
2020   NLCS g1 Oct12 ATL L1-5 5.0 3  1  5  7  1 100  59
2020   NLCS g6 Oct17 ATL W3-1 6.0 7  0  0  6  0  89  64
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/23/2020.

The Dodgers are 6 – 4 in postseason starts by Walker and will hopefully be 7 – 4 after game three. Charlie Morton has historically been a big game pitcher and is already part of Dodger postseason lore having started game 7 in 2017. Morton has made three game 7 starts in the 21st century and won all three giving up one run combined in those three starts. Overall he has made 12 postseason starts and has only been bad in two of them, the other ten he has given up two runs or less. His teams are 8 – 4 in his postseason starts.

Game six should be a close game, eventually decided by the bullpen. The Rays had to use all of their best relief pitchers on Wednesday night to keep the Dodgers at bay, but the Rays have yet to see the well-rest Treinen/Graterol/Jansen. That could be a key component of this game as the Dodgers are a group of smart hitters who might thrive as they see more and more of the Tampa relief pitchers.


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