Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Walker Buehler surprisingly threw 52 pitches over 4.2 innings in his first start of Spring Training this year, but then didn’t appear in another Cactus League game.
The Los Angeles Dodgers had the right-hander pitch in a B game at Camelback Ranch, when Buehler stretched out to 74 pitches. Next was taking the mound against the L.A. Angels in the first game of the exhibition Freeway Series.
The outing, which was Buehler’s final tuneup before his first career Opening Day start, produced rocky results. He did go the planned five innings but also surrendered three home runs in the Dodgers’ 5-1 loss.
Buehler at times struggled with his command and he attributed the subpar outing to potentially experimenting too much, via Juan Toribio of MLB.com:
“I threw some good pitches, I threw some bad ones and they hit some out,” Buehler said. “I’m always tinkering with stuff and maybe I tinkered a little too much. I gave up a couple homers on my changeup and struck some guys out with my changeup. It is what it is.”
While the results weren’t what Buehler hoped for, he came away encouraged by his velocity touching the mid-90s and further stretching out to 85 pitches:
“I would like to pitch better but the velocity was close,” Buehler said. “My stuff was all right, so I’ll be all right. It felt good to go 85. You want to be really good and I wasn’t, but that’s fine. I’m more built up than I have been in spring before, so it’s all good.”
Buehler has long been among the players who downplay overreacting to Spring Training results. He instead prefers taking a more methodical approach and studying video to find areas to improve on.
The 27-year-old now has four days to do so before facing the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.
Buehler honored to make Opening Day start
Clayton Kershaw holds the Dodgers franchise record with nine career Opening Day starts, which has Buehler further appreciative of being tabbed to take the ball in a season opener.
“It’s a cool opportunity and an honor and I’m looking forward to it,” he said after being named the Dodgers’ Opening Day starter.
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