Athletics Vs. Dodgers Game Preview: Walker Buehler Starts In Rubber Match

After splitting the first two matchups, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics meet in the rubber match of a three-game series at Dodger Stadium.

Prior to Thursday’s finale, the Dodgers activated Walker Buehler off the injured list, who makes his final start of the regular season. He last pitched on Sept. 8 against the Arizona Diamondbacks, logging just 2.2 innings after re-aggravating the blister on his right index finger.

The Dodgers, however, are hopeful that Buehler can move past the issue. The right-hander is five days removed from a 90-pitch simulated game in which he came out feeling healthy.

Buehler threw with both the blister covered and uncovered to test how it would feel in a controlled environment. Of the throws, Buehler completed 75 without the blister covered.

“I think it was a little bit of a combo,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Just kind of making sure we don’t tax it or expose it too much. We’re just trying to protect it.”

Buehler enters with an overall 1-0 record, 3.86 ERA, 4.77 FIP and 1.01 WHIP in 32.2 innings this season (seven starts). Along with Clayton Kershaw, he is a candidate to start in Game 1 of the National League Wild Card Series next week.

The Athletics counter with Mike Fiers, who looks to build off an excellent start against the Colorado Rockies on Sept. 16. In six innings of work, he allowed just one run on seven hits with four strikeouts.

Fiers brings with him into Friday’s start a 6-2 record, 4.67 ERA, 4.85 FIP and 1.39 WHIP across 54 innings on the year (10 games).

A win on Thursday will keep the Dodgers at having just one series loss this season, but the game otherwise carries no weight for them in the standings.

Justin Turner is back at third base after playing five innings there Wednesday night. It marked Turner’s first time in the field since Aug. 28 as he had been bothered by left hamstring trouble on multiple occasions.

Dodgers lineup

RF: Mookie Betts
SS: Corey Seager
3B: Justin Turner
1B: Max Muncy
C: Will Smith
CF: Cody Bellinger
LF: AJ Pollock
DH: Joc Pederson
2B: Chris Taylor

Athletics lineup

2B: Tommy La Stella
LF: Robbie Grossman
SS: Marcus Semien
1B: Matt Olson
DH: Mark Canha
CF: Ramón Laureano
3B: Jake Lamb
RF: Stephen Piscotty
C: Sean Murphy

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