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Walker Buehler Manhandles Cardinals, Dodgers Pull Even For Wild Card

It looks like reports of the Dodger’s demise were greatly exaggerated. The boys in blue piggybacked off of their exciting 9-7 win in the series opener on Thursday by making a commanding statement on Friday night at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. If the Dodgers are making a statement, they certainly did that in the second game of the series by shutting out and shutting down the Cardinals 3-0. The win pulls them even in the Wild Card race, and at the moment one game behind the Rockies, with Colorado currently losing in San Francisco.

Rookie phenom Walker Buehler completely manhandled the Red Birds with a dominating performance. The young hurler tossed eight innings and limited the Cardinals to just two hits, two walks and struck out nine. Buehler mixed an impressive repertoire of 99 MPH heaters and knee buckling off-speed pitches throughout the night. Buehler retired the first 13 batters he faced until Paul DeJong’s line drive single in the bottom of the fifth. The Cardinals had just four runners reach base against Buehler, and only two runners reached scoring position.

Dodgers  3 7 0

Cardinals 0 2 0

WP- Buehler-8-5




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Dodger wild horse Yasiel Puig provided most of the offense single handedly with two solo home runs. One in the top of the second, a laser shot into the left field shrubs, and a bomb in the top of the ninth against Cardinal reliever Tyler Webb. The third Dodger run was plated in the top of the seventh on a passed ball. St. Louis starter Jack Flaherty pitched just as well as Buehler did, tossing six innings of one-run ball and striking out eight. Flaherty actually took the loss but he definitely did not deserve it. That’s baseball folks.

The Dodgers started the game by stranding two in the top of the first. Puig smashed his first home run in the top of the second. The Dodgers had another opportunity in the top of the fifth when Enrique Hernandez singled and a wild pitch moved him to second. But Buehler whiffed and Joc Pederson grounded out.

The bottom of the fifth gave Buehler his first taste of trouble in the game when he allowed the one-out single to DeJong (The Card’s first base runner of the night) and after Kolten Wong’s loud out to right, Harrison Bader singled DeJong to second. Buehler got Yadier Molina to sharply ground out to third with Justin Turner making a great play to throw him out.

With the boys in blue up 1-0, they looked to add more in the top of the seventh. St. Louis reliever Dakota Hudson began the frame by hitting Cody Bellinger with a pitch. Although the call was fairly questionable. Puig’s ground ball single to left put two on with none out. Pinch-hitter Chase Utley’s fly to left moved the runners over to second and third. After Buehler struck out, Joc came to the plate with a chance to knock in a pair. The next pitch gets away from Molina, allowing to Bellinger to score on the passed ball. A rarity for the sure handed veteran Molina. Nobody was covering and Molina’s throw back to the plate goes wide with Matt Adams getting to the ball and tossing to Hudson to tag out Bellinger who also tried to score. But the damage was done and the Dodgers took a 2-0 lead.

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Buehler continued to dominate, recording a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh. Turner and Max Muncy both walked in the bottom of the eighth, but the Dodgers couldn’t score. Buehler started to run out of gas in the bottom of the eighth, but was able to escape a late inning jam. A lead-off walk to Kolten Wong followed by a ground force out from Bader (with Dozier and Machado making a terrific play) brought Molina up with a chance to redeem himself. He popped out though, but Buehler walked Jedd Gyorko to put the go-ahead run to the plate. Buehler strikes out Matt Carpenter to preserve the Dodger lead.

In the top of the ninth, Puig blasted his second home run of the night and the Dodgers went up by a 3-0 score. Move to the bottom of the ninth. In comes big man Kenley Jansen to close shop. He hits Munoz with a pitch to start the inning. GULP…..Adams lines out to Bellinger who tries to tag Munoz for a double play. It looked like he might have gotten it, but the review upheld the original call on the field. Marcell Ozuna pops up for the second out, and Kenley whiffs DeJong looking for the final out of the game. Dodgers win it 3-0!

The Dodgers look for the series win on Saturday morning as Rich Hill counters John Gant. The Dodgers are looking good! First pitch is scheduled for 10:05 AM PST. Hey even I am starting to feel optimistic, and that scares the crap out of me. Happy Friday people!

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

27 thoughts on “Walker Buehler Manhandles Cardinals, Dodgers Pull Even For Wild Card

  1. Quite a pitcher’s duel. Two up-and coming superstar pitchers.

    Buehler was in total command tonight. Would have been nice to let him go for a complete game shutout, but you know that was not going to happen. Jansen puts a scare into Buehler’s shutout and victory. My thought was to save Jansen for Saturday and/or Sunday, and let Buehler go for nine inning complete game. Ferris was not laboring, and in a groove.

    Flaherty went toe-to-toe with Buehler, only to be foiled by Puig.

    Puig was a one man army tonight. Two solo HR’s… he probably will sit tomorrow. I just wonder what Puig could do if he played every day? Well, you know that would never happen, with this Dodger team. All the other Dodgers were the typical non-productive offense we see every night… 0-5 RISP, 15 LOB, 12 KO’s.

    Just win. Pedal to the metal.

    1. Puig may be the worst base runner I’ve ever watched. His judgement is somehow off. He was thrown out at home trying to score from 3rd and which he had no way of beating the throw due to his not paying attention to where the thrower was. All he saw was his desire to score. Just doesn’t pay attention to the field when he’s on base. Nice HR’s, though.

  2. Yes Jeff, he is definitely the “Wild Horse”. Plays the game with uncanny passion. Seems the offensive potential is there, but his lack of playing time affects his numbers. When ever he starts to see the ball well, and barrel it up, he is relegated to the bench, and he loses his focus. Love his defense. I know he is like a scud missle on the basepaths, but in a way, I like his aggressiveness. I like when players put the ball in play, and force the defense to make a play. Steal bases and put pressure on the pitcher and catcher. Lead the defense into making mistakes.

    His judgement will improve, with more playing time, but at least he is trying to make things happen.

  3. That’s the best pitching performance of the year, the combined no-hitter in Mexico not withstanding and both games started by Buehler. No way he was going to get a shot at a complete game since he was over 100 pitches by the eighth and they are going to protect that valuable right arm of his. I had no problem with Puig being thrown out, it was aggressive and that is something this team needs more of, and it took a good play to get him. He more than made up for it with the 2 solo shots. Tomorrows game is an early start, Hill on the bump for the blue. He has given up 18 homers this year, the Cardinal pitcher, 7. Turner made a high light reel play on that grounder. Dozier still cannot hit. But he is not taking the bad AB’s out in the field with him. Kemp got a pinch hit single. Wonder why Matt is on the bench when he kills RH pitching. Probably because tomorrows game is a day game and Roberts wants him in there for that. Should be he and Puig along with probably Bellinger in the outfield tomorrow. had a list of the all time best performers for each team in September. They chose Hershiser in 88 for the Dodgers. Sorry, as good as Orel was that year, an everyday player is more valuable than someone who is out there only every 4th day. Even though Orel was in the midst of his scoreless inning streak also. For my money, it was Manny after he came to the Dodgers. The guy was unbelievable. and pretty much unstoppable the last 2 months.

    1. Michael,

      Add in all of Puig’s baserunning gaffs this year and you could make a nice comedy show.
      Dozier is really on a doze. If this keeps up, he will sleep himself out of a job. No way would I try to re-sign him after the season. 2B seems to be jinxed for us. The St. Louis announcers(McCarver) were talking about the possibility of Utley taking over for the stretch. I could see it if we make it to the playoffs. Utley gets a lot of respect in other NL cities.

      I’m still waiting for Machado to put together a full week of great baseball. His power game has fallen off since being a Dodger. I was looking forward to a Muncy/Turner/Machado/Kemp/Bellinger lineup for some great blowouts but doesn’t look like it’s on. Kemp and Muncy will get rusty with the Roberts R&R routine in full force. Is Kemp’s contract loaded with incentives that they don’t want to pay? It’s hard to figure this out. They treat him like he’s an old man. Sure, he’s not going to steal any bases but that is not what you play him for.

      1. No, Kemp’s contract does not have incentives. Why would you need incentives when you are getting 20 mil? Dave has been doing this all year. And it got worse when Kemp went into his little funk post all star game. He plays a day, sits, plays and sits. He will probably get the start this morning. Dozier has no shot at being re-signed. Me, I move Taylor in there permanently. Seager will be back, they most likely will not re-sign Machado. The other 2nd base option is obviously Muncy. If he can improve his range and defense, he would be a good choice. As for Bellinger, I want that guy at first for his defense every game. Vs lefty’s or righty’s .

        1. Michael
          Kemp did not get a start today and lately Dummy has been sitting him 2 games and playing one. The Dodgers should have easily won the division if not for Dummy. He needs to be fired.

  4. Jeff

    This game was all Buehler and Puig.

    Your right, Puig should not have went home there in most cases, but this team has been terrible, when runners are in scoring position.

    Joc was up to bat when Puig tried to go home, and Joc has been one of the worse hitters in all of baseball, when runners are in scoring position.

    Joc’s OPS in these situations is 294, and his average is much less then that, so Puig going home then, was the right thing to do.

    Why Roberts continues to have Joc lead off when he is hitting below 245 and he is striking out much more in the second half, just doesn’t make sense, so that is on Roberts.

    Every time I see Buehler do so well, I think it is to bad Buehler wasn’t this far along last year, because if we had this Buehler in our rotation last year, we would have won it all.

    Michael really, the game in Mexico?

    Buehler has pitched better against far harder competition, in the last few months.

    And that was a team thing in Mexico.

    1. No, MJ. If Puig really thought this out, he would have realized that the score is 3-0, he would be on 3B with Joc coming up to the plate. We were already ahead with a shutout. I even saw that he could not make it from 3B and where the ball was being thrown from. This was simply another poor decision that Puig made. He is a liability on the bases. He is less than 50% CS career average. Taylor is actually worse than Puig when it comes to stealing and being thrown out. Remember recently when Puig ran to 1B on a ground ball that was overthrown? Normally, the runner looks to see where the ball is before he takes off for 2B. This ball was just beyond the 1Bman, Puig made a break to 2B and realized too late that the ball was close by and he was tagged out. I have never seen that happen before. If he paid attention, he would not make so many blunders on the bases.

      1. I do agree, MJ, on not having Joc lead off. He is simply the wrong guy for this spot. Muncy is my leadoff man, and should be playing everyday along with Kemp at this point. Also, Joc has no speed. He has stolen 1 base this season and been caught out 4x. Baseball 101, Roberts.

        1. The score was 2-0 Jeff. It did not become 3-0 until Puig’s 9th inning homer. Muncy’s problem is where to play him. He is not as good a 2nd baseman as Dozier or anyone else on the team. The way he has been hitting the last week, I put Taylor up there. Muncy has a lot less speed than Joc. If you want speed up there you need Toles, or Verdugo, Tim Locastro is the fastest player on the team. Joc is there because of his power and the off chance he will run into one and hit a leadoff homer. Lately he has not been swinging the bat that great, but he did hit 2 HR’s in Cincy. As for Puig, he is entertaining and energetic. Something a lot of the players on this team are not. He is exciting baseball. He is hitting the ball with authority right now, and I would much rather see him up there than the nightly whiff show that is Yasmani Grandal or Brian Dozier. Utley should be playing. He is a gamer and a winner. And probably the smartest baseball guy on the field when he is out there.

        2. Jeff

          You know I will call Puig out, if I think he made a bad decision, on the bases.

          But I have seen Puig run when it looked like he would be out by a mile, but just the fact that Puig had the nerve to push the envelope, has made fielders bobble the ball, more often, then you think.

          And I have seen Puig do that much more often, then I have seen Joc get a clutch hit, when there were runners in scoring position, with two outs.

        3. Jeff

          I agree with you about Muncy, because he not only has the numbers you would think a player in their fourth year would have, he is just a smarter player then Joc, who is the one, that is in his fourth year.

          And I don’t care about his two singles today either, because this is a blow out, and that is often when he gets hits, or hits one out.

          That is because either the pitching his subpar, or a good pitcher, is having a bad day.

    2. The game in Mexico was a combined no hitter…..hard to get better than a no hitter, so yeah. He is still a ROOKIE! Yesterdays game was the best he has pitched this year. Career high in strikeouts and the first time he has pitched into the 8th. You show me a game where he was better than that. Plus he only gave up 2 hits.

    3. That’s what I said MJ…COMBINED means more than one. But he pitched 5 no hit innings. Roberts was not going to let him go further than that. That happens to be my opinion, you do not agree, fine.

  5. Michael,

    I think that Kemp’s absence from the lineup is more a FO decision, then Roberts. Hate to keep saying it, but Roberts is just more or less a puppet and fall guy, for FO blunders.

    Dodgers have way too many outfielders, and FO would rather have it’s mainstays play then Kemp, who was not figured to be on the roster from the get-go. That is how ignorant the front office is.

    Only in LA, do all-stars sit on the bench.

    Wow…. Puig just hit another. Keep him in the lineup!

    1. I’ve been around here somewhat infrequently because of work, but ya good to see the silly conspiracies and criticisms of Roberts are still being floated.

    2. Blue
      There is absolutely some reason why Kemp does not play most days and your theory may very well be correct. He cannot complain because he was labeled a troublemaker when he was with the Dodgers the first time and I believe he is trying to be a good teammate but Dummy or the FO or both are screwing him. You are also right LA is the only place All Stars ride the pine.

      1. I’m ok with Kemp not playing every day. I mean I would rather him play every day, but that’s not what bothers me the most. The one thing that bothers me the most is when they put terrible hitters in the lineup. The Dodgers have two terrible hitters that should never ever start another game again. Dozier is terrible. Barnes is one of the worst hitters in baseball. Keep those two automatic outs on the bench and the Dodgers should do fine. I’m sure Kemp will get some reps down the stretch. Joc and Taylor are not terrible. Dozier and Barnes are the worst.

  6. Happy day for me.

    Rich Hill on national TV.

    Joy and splendor for all to see.

    Puig hitting homers like he’s hitting off a tee.

      1. Michael

        First, I know what combined means!

        Secondly, it is a ridiculous comparison, because the Padres are much more like a AAA team, then the Cards.

        And a game early in the season against the Padres, is simply a bad comparison, to a game in a penant race, against the Cardinals.

        And it might say no hitter in the box score of that game against the Padres, in Mexico.

        But anyone who saw both of these games, would remember lasts night game more, because these two games, are just in comparable.

        And Buehler was pitching better last night, then he, or anyone was, in that game in Mexico, against the lowly Padres!

        1. Bluto

          You know I don’t dislike Hill, but I wouldn’t use blast with Hill, just not a good omen, unless Puig hits another grand slam.

          Because it is still to early, especially with the humidity, in St Louis.

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