Posted on May 5, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine

Los Angeles Dodgers Walker Buehler

Image via si.com

The second no-hitter of the 2018 MLB season was a real group effort. Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Walker Buehler started Friday’s game against the San Diego Padres, tossing six hitless innings. He was then pulled, with Tony Cingrani, Yimi Garcia, and Adam Liberatore each throwing a hitless inning to close out a 4-0 win with the no-hitter intact. It was the 23rd no-hitter in Dodgers history, but the first one completed by multiple pitchers.

In addition to being the 12th combined no-hitter in big league history, it’s also the first no-hitter ever thrown outside the U.S. Friday’s game between the Dodgers and Padres began a series between the teams at the Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey in Mexico. Fittingly, Mexican legend Fernando Valenzuela, who threw a no-hitter with the Dodgers in 1990, threw out the first pitch.

“I think any time you get to achieve something like that it’s going to take awhile to process and understand what it means,” Buehler said after the game. “But to fly here and to play outside of our country, in Mexico where the atmosphere is different, and to perform the way that we did is – it’s almost humbling in a way because it’s just different and then you’re able to put it together and it makes it a little bit sweeter.”

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Unfortunately, the 23-year old Buehler wasn’t unable to go the distance. Buehler underwent Tommy John surgery almost right after getting drafted in 2015. With his surgical history in mind, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said it was a “no-brainer” to pull Buehler after he threw 93 pitches over the first six innings.

“I just let him know, understanding how much of the game was left,” explained Roberts after the game. “He was totally complicit with where I was coming from and how important he is for the organization this year. He completely understood.”

Buehler may have told Roberts he understood. But the rookie who was making just his third career start was also disappointed at being pulled with a no-hitter intact.

“He told me I was out of pitches and I was out of the game,” Buehler said of his conversation with Roberts. “That’s probably the toughest one of those conversations I’ve ever had. Obviously, I wanted to keep going.”

Despite not going the distance, Buehler, the top prospect in the Los Angeles farm system, received rave reviews from San Diego’s hitters after the game.

“Two different breaking balls he was throwing for strikes on both sides of the plate. He was throwing 98-99 mph,” said Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer. “It’s tough to give credit to the pitcher sometimes, but he threw a good game and he had all of his pitches working to both sides of the plate. Sometimes you’ve got to tip your cap to their guy.”

In addition to the history of a no-hitter, a brilliant outing from Buehler is just what the Dodgers needed. Los Angeles has struggled to get it going all season and remain two games under .500. With both Rich Hill and Hyun-Jin Ryu on the DL, Buehler is helping fill one of the vacancies in the team’s rotation. With their infield also decimated by injuries, the Dodgers need their pitching staff to lead the way. For six innings Friday night, that’s exactly what Buehler did, finding a spot in the record books along the way.

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