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Walker Buehler named Dodgers’ opening day starter

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 12: Walker Buehler #21 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning in game 4 of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 12, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 12: Walker Buehler #21 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning in game 4 of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 12, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

There’s been turnover with the Los Angeles Dodgers’ roster entering the 2022 season, familiar faces leaving, new faces arriving, however, Walker Buehler being named the starting pitcher for opening day on April 8, against the Colorado Rockies, might be the biggest change of all.

For almost a decade, in nine of the last 11 seasons, Clayton Kershaw was the Dodgers’ opening day starter for a franchise-record nine times.

The Dodgers’ success usually rested solely on the arm of Kershaw in years past. In what some people might call a passing of the torch, it’s now Buehler’s turn to take the ball.

Walker Buehler, 27, has quietly become the Dodgers’ best pitcher over the last couple of years as Kershaw has faded into the later stages of his career.

Last season, Buehler led all Dodgers’ starters with a 2.47 ERA, 212 strikeouts, and finished fourth in the National League CY Young Award voting. Since entering the league in 2017, he’s finished in the top 10 of the CY Young voting twice.

The Dodgers in recent years have looked to Buehler to pitch in the biggest games, specifically in the postseason, where he’s held opponents to a 2.94 ERA over 15 starts, including two starts in the world series.

Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts decided to make Buehler the opening starter in 2022 with all of that in mind.

After the first pitch is thrown on opening day, reality will start to set in for Dodgers fans, and the expectations will be through the roof as you’d come to expect with a roster littered with former MVPs.

Coors Field in Colorado is the most unpredictable place to play with its sky-high elevation.

The game will likely be a high-scoring affair, no matter how good or bad the Rockies are in 2022, it takes time for the visiting teams to adjust to the elements.

Buehler will know early on if he’s able to throw his breaking pitches effectively or has to rely mostly on fastballs to get through the day.

Despite the Dodgers’ 106 wins in 2021, they finished one game behind the San Francisco Giants for the National League West division crown, snapping the Dodgers’ streak of eight consecutive NL West division titles.

The Dodgers fell a few wins short of reaching the world series after losing in six games to the eventual world series champion Atlanta Braves in the National League championship series.

Even with the free agents signed in the offseason, most notably, all-star first baseman Freddie Freeman adds to an already lethal lineup, but pitching depth after Buehler, Kershaw and Julio Urias might become an issue and if that’s the case there’s a trade to be made.

The Dodgers’ will look to rebound in 2022 by first reclaiming the NL West division title, securing home-field advantage throughout the postseason, and winning the world series.

For quite some time in Los Angeles, anything short of a world series championship is considered to be a bust for Dodgers fans, rightfully so.

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About the Contributor
Michael Cody Stephenson, Staff Writer
Michael Cody Stephenson is a staff writer for Talon Marks covering sports, Arts & Entertainment, Life, and opinion. Michael enjoys traveling, attending sporting events, listening to podcasts, hiking, and spending time with friends and family. He hopes to transfer to a four-year university in the Fall and one day pursue a career in the sports industry.
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Walker Buehler named Dodgers’ opening day starter