Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
After making his first career Opening Day start last week, Walker Buehler returned to the mound in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ home opener against the Cincinnati Reds.
The right-hander also had the honor of starting the first game at Dodger Stadium last season, when he tossed six shutout innings against the Washington Nationals on the heels of a World Series ring ceremony.
Buehler wasn’t as dominant this time around as he nearly coughed up a 3-0 lead in the second inning before escaping a bases-loaded jam. He proceeded to strand two more runners in the third and carried his shutout into the sixth inning.
Buehler was one pitch away from keeping the Reds scoreless and likely calling it a night but surrendered a two-run home run to Aristides Aquino. “Pretty good pitch,” Buehler said after the game.
“Kind of what I was trying to do with the fastball up. Wish I would’ve thrown it a little bit harder and he wouldn’t have hit it, but he’s a talented guy and got to it. Hat’s off to him. I kind of made the pitch I wanted to.”
Buehler wound up completing 5.2 innings in his second start of the season, allowing five hits and two runs with four strikeouts against three walks. “Kind of throughout the game I kind of felt like I found rhythm and then lost it, then found it, then lost it,” he explained.
“Little bit of jitters, little bit of trying to do a lot. Obviously with how our pitching’s been, especially yesterday, you want to go and throw the ball well. Maybe tried to do a little too much, but it is what it is. I think we’ll settle back in.”
Despite not having his best stuff, Buehler praised Will Smith for the game he called behind the plate. “Will did a really nice job of kind of steering me through some weird at-bats in there,” Buehler said.
“He steered me through it, and that’s what he’s gotten so good at. Hat’s off to him.”
Buehler had ‘jitters’ in Dodgers home opener
Although he has plenty of experience pitching in big games, Buehler revealed that he fought back nerves during the 2022 opener at Dodger Stadium. “I threw the home opener last year, so this was kind of the second round of it,” Buehler began.
“It’s fun. We have some of the best fans in all of sports. Our first game back and 53,000 here, I think if you don’t have jitters there’s something wrong with you.”
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