LOS ANGELES — There are a lot of F-words that fill the air in a decisive Baseball playoff game.
Fatal. Frantic. Frenetic.
Walker Buehler has a favorite.
“You have to remember, this is supposed to be fun,” said the Dodgers right-hander, who will start his third postseason elimination game in just his first full major league season when the Dodgers take on the Washington Nationals in the decisive fifth game of their National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium tonight. “How many other teams in the major leagues wish they could be in this position right now?
“Since I learned how to control my emotions and my breathing and blood pressure, these games are fun.”
Buehler started the National League West tiebreaker game vs. the Colorado Rockies last September.
Then he started Game 7 of the National League Championship Series at Milwaukee, helping Los Angeles reach its second straight World Series.
With the Dodgers down 0-2 in the Fall Classic, Buehler shut out the Boston Red Sox over seven innings in Game 3, allowing two hits and striking out seven.
He didn’t have much of a pulse in the NLDS opener last Thursday, either, shutting out Washington on two hits while fanning eight.
“We feel very confident going in to Game 5 with Walker on the mound,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I’m going to have a hard time taking the ball out of Walker’s hand.”
Buehler matches up with Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg. He limited the Dodgers to one run over six innings of Washington’s Game 2 victory.
In the process he lowered his career postseason ERA to 0.64, eclipsing the record of 0.75 held by Dodgers Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax.
“Stras gives us a great chance,” said Nats Game 4 hero Ryan Zimmerman. “We feel very confident going out there to play Game 5 behind him.”
The Dodgers are trying to avoid a first-round pratfall after a team-record 106-win season.
The Nats are 0-4 in the postseason since 2012. They’ve lost five straight NLDS since 1981, when they were known as the Montreal Expos and they defeated the defending world champion Philadelphia Phillies.
The Dodgers then beat the pre-Nats on Rick Monday’s home run on in the ninth inning of Game 5.
“We’re back in Dodger Stadium, where we had the best record in the National League (59-22),” Buehler said. “So let’s just go out and have some more fun.”