Dodgers have MLB’s best record. They have a 10th straight playoff berth and second World Series title in three years.
The Dodgers revealed hours before Monday’s 4-0 win over the Brewers that Walker Buehler will have season-ending elbow surgery on Aug. 23. The Dodgers won 80 games without Buehler since June.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts: “It’s a blow.” Walker improves our team. It’s hopeless. We have enough guys to prevent runs through October. We wanted Walker to be involved.”
Roberts and the Dodgers delivered limited answers on Buehler’s upcoming surgery. The Dodgers manager didn’t expect Tommy John’s surgery. He added Dr. ElAttrache could be mistaken, but that’s fantastic news for the Dodgers and the right-hander.
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This injuries open-ended isn’t good news.
If the Dodgers knew Buehler’s diagnosis, they could set a return date. There are now many questions and few answers. After Roberts’ operation, the Dodgers will know more.
Roberts: “I don’t want to speculate” “I think it’s fair because if we knew beforehand, we’d have a timeline. We don’t currently. We’d all love clarity right now.”
Buehler won’t be on the Dodgers’ postseason roster. After Buehler’s Grade 2 flexor strain on June 10, the team wanted him back for the stretch run.
Buehler played catch for weeks. During his growth, he reached 120 feet, but during the Dodgers’ penultimate homestand, he stopped. An MRI confirmed his season was finished.
We took time off to try to get him back this year, Roberts said. Then we couldn’t get over the hump. We shot it and must now go in.”
Losing Buehler is a major blow for the Dodgers, who didn’t trade for a starting pitcher at the Trade Deadline. Part of that thinking was they were hoping to have a pitcher like Buehler back in the fold.
Without Buehler for the rest of the season, the Dodgers will continue to ask Julio Urías and Tony Gonsolin to lead the rotation heading into the stretch run. Dustin May, who makes his return from Tommy John Surgery on Aug. 20 against the Marlins, could also be a factor.
But in Buehler and Clayton Kershaw’s absence, Urías has been the pitcher who has stepped up to become the Dodgers’ ace.
The Mexican left-hander delivered again on Monday, tossing five scoreless innings despite not having his best stuff. In his past six starts, Urías has allowed four earned runs over 38 innings of work, good for a 0.95 ERA. His 2.40 ERA this season ranks him seventh in the Majors among qualified starters.
“I know he’s not an All-Star, but I mean, we got to be getting close to being in the Cy Young race here,” said Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman, who homered on Monday. “Left arms don’t come around like that very often. And we’re lucky enough to have him on our team and he’s been fantastic all season.”
Buehler had struggled this season when healthy, posting a 4.02 ERA over 12 starts. But few pitchers in the Majors have had the level of success. Buehler has had when the lights come on in October.
Last October, Buehler was their workhorse, pitching on short rest twice, once in the NL Division Series against the Giants and again in the NLCS versus the Braves.
The Dodgers believe they have enough to withstand Buehler’s absence. Urías is doing his best to prove them right.
“We know what’s happening with Walker and he’s going to be someone that is missed by everyone,” Urías said in Spanish. “But we have the talent in the rotation. My focus is on giving it my 100 percent and whatever happens, happens.”
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