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Dodgers: Walker Buehler Gets the Nod in Game 1 of the Playoffs Over Kershaw

Walker Buehler might just be one start past his blister issue, but the Dodgers still have every bit of confidence in him. Dave Roberts seemed to show that by naming Buehler the Game 1 starter for the wildcard series this week. 

Buehler threw 4 innings in his return from the Injured List this week against the A’s. He allowed just 1 hit and struck out 6 en route to a great outing coming off of a blister issue. The Dodgers would go on to win that game 5-1.

For the Dodgers, this isn’t so much of a ‘changing of the guard’ as it is a timing thing. Clayton Kershaw happened to throw on Friday, so throwing Buehler first allows both guys to pitch on 5 days of rest. It does set it up for this to be a pattern in the ensuing playoffs series though. 

Buehler has had a roller coaster of a year but is catching fire at the right time. After starting slow in Summer Camp, many believed that he wouldn’t even be built up enough to go for a full start. That was confirmed when Buehler couldn’t make it out of the 4th inning in his first start of the year. 

Since that time, he has worked on building up and keeping that blister under control. Buehler possesses a 3.44 ERA across 8 starts this year. Kershaw has been a completely different story for 2020. In 10 starts, Kershaw has pitched to a 2.16 ERA and a fantastic 0.84 WHIP. If the Dodgers can take game 1 behind Walker Buehler, they could really put the opposing team in a tough spot with Kershaw to follow. 

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  1. Timing is not random on the 2020 Dodgers. This order was set up as soon as Buehler came off the IL. He represents the best option for avoiding an abrupt elimination game hole right off the bat.

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