Buehler, Urías set for NLDS starts in SF

October 8th, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO -- After a dramatic 3-1 walk-off win over the Cardinals in the National League Wild Card Game on Wednesday, the Dodgers will quickly turn their attention to the much-anticipated matchup against the Giants in the NL Division Series, which will begin tonight at Oracle Park in San Francisco.

The Dodgers will enter the series with some momentum after Chris Taylor's walk-off homer in front of a sold-out Dodger Stadium crowd. They’ll also be entering the series with plenty of confidence in their starting pitcher.

Walker Buehler will take the mound as the Game 1 starter, opposite Giants right-hander Logan Webb. The Dodgers also announced that left-hander Julio Urías will start Game 2 against right-hander Kevin Gausman.

Buehler, 27, just wrapped up his best season in the Majors with a 16-4 record and a 2.47 ERA in 33 starts. Surpassing the 200-inning mark for the first time in his career, Buehler is among the top candidates in a crowded NL Cy Young Award race.

The Dodgers' right-hander made six of those starts against San Francisco, finding plenty of success with a 3-1 record and a 2.19 ERA. His last start against the Giants, however, didn’t go as planned. Buehler allowed a season-high six runs over just three innings on Sept. 5.

“It’s kind of two-fold, right? They know me and we know them,” Buehler said. “So not going to talk too much about it, but [we'll] obviously look and see what we can change. The last one against them wasn’t great, but felt good about the ones before that. So we’ll figure it out.”

Buehler will also look to enhance his postseason reputation. During the Dodgers’ 2020 championship run, Buehler didn’t allow more than two runs in any of his five playoff starts. He has a 2.35 ERA over 11 postseason starts.

“It’s something that I’ve enjoyed playing in over the past couple years and had some success,” Buehler said. “It’s a little bit different playing a team in your division, so go out and see what we got and hope for the best.”

For Game 2, the decision to go with Urías was an easy one for the Dodgers. While the left-hander got loose in the bullpen during Wednesday’s game, he never entered the contest, keeping him on six days’ rest. Urías finished the season as the first 20-game winner in the NL since Max Scherzer accomplished the feat with the Nationals in 2016.

The Dodgers still haven’t decided their official pitching plans for Games 3 and 4. Scherzer, who pitched Wednesday’s game, would be on full rest, making him the likely choice next Monday at Dodger Stadium. If the Dodgers go that route, the decision for a potential Game 4 becomes interesting.

With Clayton Kershaw out for the postseason, the Dodgers don’t have a bona fide fourth starter in their rotation. Tony Gonsolin, who threw four innings in a live batting practice at Oracle Park on Thursday, could be an option to start or pitch the bulk innings during a bullpen game.

But right now, the Dodgers are just focused on Game 1. And they believe they have the right guy on the mound in Buehler.