The Los Angeles Dodgers began their highly-anticipated postseason run with a big win on Thursday night, shutting out the Washington Nationals, 6-0, at Dodger Stadium to take a 1-0 lead in the National League Division Series.
There was a lot of speculation leading up to the postseason about who the Dodgers’ Game 1 starting pitcher would be, and they ultimately went with Walker Buehler.
The young right-hander did not disappoint in his first career Game 1 start, tossing six shutout inning while allowing just one hit with eight strikeouts and three walks. Per STATS LLC, Buehler became the first NL pitcher with back-to-back postseason starts of at least six innings while allowing two or fewer hits, with the other coming in the World Series last year.
Buehler looked comfortable all night and outdueled Patrick Corbin, who walked four batters in the first inning, including Max Muncy with the bases loaded to bring home a run.
Muncy then helped add to that lead in the fifth when he hit a groundball to first base that Howie Kendrick made an error on, allowing Cody Bellinger to score and double the lead.
It wasn’t until the Nationals bullpen entered the game that the Dodgers broke it open. Once again, it was Muncy right in the middle of things as he hit a two-run single in the seventh inning off Fernando Rodney to double the lead again to 4-0.
In what was a bit of a surprise, Gavin Lux hit the Dodgers’ first home run of the 2019 postseason when he hit a pinch-hit blast in the eighth inning off Hunter Strickland. The home run came in the 21-year-old’s first career postseason at-bat.
Joc Pederson then finished the deal with a home run of his own one batter later, an absolute mammoth shot off the right-field foul pole. Pederson now has seven career postseason blasts as he continues to shine in October.
The Dodgers bullpen, who has taken a lot of heat this season, was flawless in closing out the victory. Adam Kolarek, Kenta Maeda and Joe Kelly combined to toss three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit while striking out five.