LOS ANGELES -- Walker Buehler got the ball with the Los Angeles Dodgers' season on the line Tuesday, starting Game 4 of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium and pitching on short rest for the first time in his career.
He threw 4⅓ innings, allowing three hits and one earned run on 71 pitches in L.A.'s 7-2 win. He walked two and struck out four.
Buehler, who opposed San Francisco Giants right-hander Anthony DeSclafani, pitched on three days' rest, a relatively quick turnaround after giving up three runs in 6⅓ innings and taking the loss in Friday's Game 1.
The decision, coming off Los Angeles' 1-0 loss to the Giants on Monday night, is largely a function of Clayton Kershaw being unavailable for the postseason with lingering inflammation in his forearm/elbow. The Dodgers clearly don't employ a go-to fourth starter that they trust as much Buehler on short rest.
Tony Gonsolin, 27, was the conventional option, but he allowed eight runs over his last 12 regular-season innings. Another option was David Price, but the former Cy Young Award winner has spent the vast majority of this season in a nondescript bullpen role and isn't necessarily stretched out.
If the Dodgers hadn't turned to Buehler, the more likely scenario was that they would stage the equivalent of a bullpen game, with Gonsolin and Price likely factoring in.