Walker Buehler was trending on Twitter on Monday night. But it wasn’t completely because the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher tossed a one-run, seven strikeout gem that was squandered by the bullpen in the ninth inning of his team’s NLCS Game 1 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
Dave Roberts’ plan to expand his best arms worked for a long while. The game between the two highest-scoring baseball teams was tied, 1-1, heading to the ninth inning–until the Braves did what the Braves have done all season: swing their way to a win.
Brusdar Graterol needed six pitches to emerge unscathed from a jam Walker Buehler created in the sixth. Victor González, another rookie, was thrust into a bases-loaded predicament in the eighth and got a strikeout to preserve a tie.
The Braves are 6-0 this postseason and have scored 11 of their last 12 runs smashing pitches at 95 or faster. They have outscored opponents, 29-6, and have trailed after only four of 58 innings.
Against Blake Treinen, who faced 120 batters until Monday night and allowed one home run, Austin Riley fell behind, no balls and two strikes, took a slider for ball one, then smoked a sinker 448 feet. Riley’s homer off Treinen sent the Braves on their way to a 5-1 win Monday. Riley joined Alfonso Soriano of the Yankees (2001 ALCS Game 4) as the only players to hit a tie-breaking postseason homer in the ninth inning out of the ninth spot in the batting order.
After the game, Walker Buehler did not want to talk about his pants. Walker Buehler’s pants became a talking point during the NLCS, but he was in no mood to join the conversation. Buehler’s pants were a talking point because they were very tight around his legs. They were not only tighter than usual but also appeared to be shorter. When asked about the pants by a Dodgers reporter, Buehler said it was not the right time or place, and proceeded to leave the interview session early.
Next up to stop Atlanta: Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers’ starter in Game 2 Tuesday. Maybe he’s the perfect candidate for Los Angeles to send out there. Kershaw has not hit 94 mph with any of his 1,068 pitches this year. He throws more breaking pitches as a percentage of his pitches than any starter in baseball. He better be on point.