With Rich Hill on the disabled list, the Los Angeles Dodgers needed a spot-starter for Monday’s series opener against the Miami Marlins. The top candidates for the start are Brock Stewart, who has a good amount of Major League experience, and top prospect Walker Buehler, who had a cup of coffee in the big leagues last September as a reliever.
While it was a bit surprising to him, the Dodgers opted to go with Buehler, who is making his first career big league start.
Buehler struggled a bit coming out of the bullpen last September, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts still has high expectations for the hard-throwing right-hander this time around, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“High hopes. High hopes. But not even close to what he expects of himself,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of the expectations for Buehler. “September, obviously it was moving kind of quick for him. There was a learning process. But in spring training, I thought he showed really well. I still love his four-pitch mix. And I think he’s going to come here and pitch well.”
Buehler was off to a good start to the season with Triple-A Oklahoma City, yielding a 2.08 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in three starts while striking out 16 compared to just four walks in 12 innings.
A couple things that could work in Buehler’s favor in his first start are that the game is at Dodger Stadium, a place he is familiar pitching at. And his opponent is the Miami Marlins, who have one of the worst records in all of baseball at 5-16.
Additionally, the Dodgers are coming into the series playing the best they have this season, winners of six of their last seven, so they will look to keep that streak going.