Walker Buehler records MLB’s first complete game of 2022
The Los Angeles Dodgers ace starter records the first complete game of the 2022 MLB season as well as his first career shutout in Arizona.
Dave Roberts knew better than to argue with his starter on Monday. A coach known for his bullpenning style of management, Roberts was told in no uncertain terms that he should not even consider coming out to the mound.
“I’m not coming out of this game,” Walker Buehler, up 4-0, told the Los Angeles Dodgers skipper at the end of the eighth, and he meant it. In the ninth, he returned to the hill and shut the Arizona Diamondbacks down to record two firsts: the first complete game of Major League Baseball’s 2022 season and the first shutout of his career.
“You get through eight and you’ve never done that, I think it’s kind of hard to not have that emotion,” Buehler said.
Just twelve days previously, Dave Roberts came under fire for pulling Clayton Kershaw after seven perfect innings. Counting pitches seems to trump all else in the Dodgers baseball gameplan, but it would seem that Buehler has a free pass. Of only four starting pitchers in MLB to reach that classic benchmark of 200 innings pitched last season, Walker Buehler was one. And on a Dave Roberts team, that is remarkable in itself.
Referring to Kershaw’s outing, Buehler said, “You’ve seen how protective we are here, and I think that’s a good thing and the smart thing. But I think I would have been really upset, just because I haven’t done this before.”
This was the third complete game in Buehler’s career and his first since last August. The Dodgers haven’t had a shutout since last May.
Buehler was really switched on and even the Diamondbacks could tell that it was his day. “You’ve just got to tip your cap to a guy like that,” said Arizona DH Seth Beer. “He pitched a heck of a game.” He ended the evening with ten strikeouts.
His catcher, Will Smith, knew his control was dialled in, as well. “His fastball was really good tonight, his command was there. His curveball was as spot-on as I have seen it. And then just kind of mixing the others. We just kind of went right at them and they didn’t really know what to do with it.”
As for Dave Roberts? He was pretty pleased that he never had to make that walk to the mound after all. “I was very relieved,” Roberts said, grinning.