LOS ANGELES — Walker Buehler asked for the baseball before he was even sure he should.
It’s become second nature for the right-hander to be on the mound, ball in hand as the Dodgers have approached their defining moments. On a team full of stars, he is the one who so often has delivered. Tuesday night, pitching on short rest for the first time in his big-league career, he helped Los Angeles save its season once again with a 7-2 Game 4 victory.
In the aftermath of the Dodgers’ 9-2 victory in Game 2, Buehler sat and mapped out the series in his head. He saw that Julio Urías’ outing required only 72 relatively stress-free pitches, and that he would be fully rested in time for a potential Game 5. Given a Dodgers rotation that suddenly did not have Clayton Kershaw to turn to, he volunteered to do what he had never been permitted to do in the big leagues — throw on three days’ rest. He made his request before even asking if it was advisable.
“I didn’t really speak to anyone before I said that,” Buehler said, “and then I spoke to kind of everyone after I said it to make sure I wasn’t being an idiot.”
Then, he went out there and lit up the radar gun, pinning down one of baseball’s most potent lineups in the early innings as the Dodgers stormed to a quick lead and held on to force a Game 5 against the Giants in the NLDS.
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