Former Vanderbilt hurler Walker Buehler was sensational on Monday afternoon, lifting the Los Angeles Dodgers to the NL West title while solidifying what will be a strong presence of Commodores in the Major League Baseball postseason.
In total, seven Vanderbilt alums assisted their clubs in reaching the postseason. The Commodores are represented among four of the six divisional winners (Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers) as well as the AL Wild Card tilt (New York Yankees). Below is a closer look at the impact each player had on his team.
WALKER BUEHLER · LOS ANGELES DODGERS
With the NL West on the line Monday, Buehler provided the Dodgers a brilliant performance. The 24-year-old permitted just one hit in 6.2 scoreless innings and added an RBI-single. Buehler allowed just 15 runs in his final 12 starts (1.55 ERA). Since August 1, opponents are batting just 1.58 against the right-hander.
DAVID PRICE · BOSTON RED SOX
Price produced ace-like numbers as the Red Sox became the 12th team since 1900 to win as many as 108 games. The southpaw will start Saturday’s ALDS Game 2 against either the New Yankees or Athletics.
In his 11 starts since the All-Star break, Price is 6-1 with a 2.25 ERA and has limited opponents to a .200 batting average. The former Cy Young Award winner has led the Red Sox to wins in 11 of his last 13 starts. He owns a 16-7 record and 3.58 ERA in 30 starts.
RYAN FLAHERTY · DANSBY SWANSON · KYLE WRIGHT · ATLANTA BRAVES
The Braves, who capped the season with three Vanderbilt alums on their roster, captured their first NL East title since 2013. The team earned its 90th win of the season last Friday, doing so following three-straight 90-loss seasons.
Swanson looks to make his return in the NLDS after exiting the Braves’ Sept. 25 matchup at the New York Mets with what was eventually revealed as a partially torn ligament in his left hand.
At the time of his injury, Swanson had 11 defensive runs saved this season, the sixth most among all major league shortstops. Swanson is batting .315 (57-for-181) with seven home runs in the seventh inning or later this season.
Flaherty split time between Triple-A Gwinnett and Atlanta, re-joining the big-league club on Sept. 2. The 32-year old started 23 of the club’s first 29 games. Flaherty hit in six-straight games to open the season and had seven hits in the opening series against Philadelphia.
Wright made his Major League debut on Sept. 4, tossing two scoreless innings. The right-hander, who became the first Braves player to make his debut the year after he was drafted since Alex Wood in 2013, has a 4.50 ERA in three games.
TONY KEMP · HOUSTON ASTROS
Kemp provided a key spark as the Astros set a new franchise record with 103 wins en route to capturing the AL West title for a second consecutive year.
Kemp hit .307 (56-for-182) in 65 games as the nine-hole batter. The former SEC Player of the Year, who played in 97 games, leads all MLB nine-hole hitters in average and on-base percentage. The Astros open the ALDS by hosting the Cleveland Indians on Friday.
SONNY GRAY · NEW YORK YANKEES
Gray helped the Yankees lock down win No. 100, striking out three while permitting just one hit on Saturday against the Red Sox. It marked the first time since 2009 the Yankees had reached the century mark in victories.
In seven relief appearances this season, the right-hander is 2-0 with a 2.60 ERA. The Vanderbilt product ranks third on the team in victories, picking up his 11th on Monday at Tampa Bay after permitting one run in two innings while fanning a pair.