Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler is fast approaching the career-high marks he established during his rookie campaign in 2018, particularly after the 16-strikeout complete game gem he twirled against the Rockies on Friday night. He expended just 111 pitches during his start and surrendered only three hits — a single to Charlie Blackmon and a pair of solo home runs to both Blackmon and Nolan Arenado.
For the first 3 2/3 innings, however, 24-year-old Buehler was perfect. He set down 11 consecutive outs — including five consecutive strikeouts between the second and third innings — before Arenado belted a two-out homer in the fourth inning. The righty’s eventual 16-strikeout feat was the 11th of its kind in franchise history, and represented a particular kind of excellence the club had not seen since Hideo Nomo’s one-run, 17-strikeout complete game against the Marlins in 1996.
The Dodgers’ offense, meanwhile, held their own: Chris Taylor drove in the first run on a sac fly in the second, while Cody Bellinger collected his 25th homer of the year off of German Márquez in the fourth. Tied 2-2 in the ninth, Max Muncy took a seven-pitch walk from Jairo Díaz and promptly plated the go-ahead run after rookie Matt Beaty drove a two-out, 1-0 fastball to center field for a walk-off homer.
The 4-2 win was just the latest in a string of exceptional appearances by Buehler, from his near no-hitter last Saturday to his quality start against the Giants and one-run, 11-strikeout affair against the Diamondbacks at the start of the month. He’ll get another chance to boost his season stats (an 8-1 record in 15 starts with a 2.96 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 9.9 SO/9, and 2.6 fWAR across 91 1/3 innings) when he takes on the D-backs during the Dodgers’ road trip this Wednesday.