The Dodgers have won six-in-a-row after beating the Phillies on Friday night. Including, a four-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks. In the final game of the series on Wednesday, Walker Buehler got the start, but it wasn't a vintage Buehler performance.
For the third time this month, Buehler labored through five innings of work. It marked the sixth time this year that he didn't log more than six innings.
Part of the reason has been his control. Walker has thrown 90-plus pitches in three of his four outings in May. In those three starts, he got past the fifth innings just once. After the Wednesday win, the Dodgers ace discussed his fastball that hasn't been as dominant as in years' past.
“I think velocity is one thing, and movement is the other, and trying to get it to move a little later, move a little more, throw a little faster, I think is always the thing. But today’s kind of one of those grimy days and you got the guy with the big orange beard to hit a homer and get us a sweep.”
Opposing hitters are hitting .365 off of his fastball which stands in stark contrast to last year where batters were hitting just .202 off of his heater. To that point, Buehler's strikeout rate is the lowest of his MLB career. He's striking out just 7.5 batters per nine innings (9.7 is his career average).
There's plenty of time for Buehler to dial in his heater, but it will have to happen sooner rather than later.