As Clayton Kershaw was shut down because of inflammation in his throwing shoulder, the Los Angeles Dodgers were simultaneously exercising caution with Walker Buehler. During the early stages, the club maintained both pitchers would be available come Opening Day.
But as time progressed, the odds grew longer of Kershaw extending his franchise record by making a ninth consecutive start in a season opener. And though Dodgers manager Dave Roberts indicated Buehler was healthy, it later was revealed the right-hander wasn’t feeling quite 100 percent.
Buehler downplayed the matter, which he attributed to remnants of setting a career high with 177 innings pitched (Minors, Majors and postseason) in 2018. After a slow and steady progression, Buehler made his 2019 debut against the Cleveland Indians.
With that now in the books, he’s expected to start in the second game of the exhibition Freeway Series, then make his first start of the regular season during the Opening Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
Buehler is scheduled to pitch again on Monday in the Freeway Series against the Angels (four innings or 60 pitches) and will likely make his first regular-season start March 30 or 31 against the D-backs.
With Buehler penciled to start Monday at Angel Stadium, a start March 30 would mean regular rest before facing the Diamondbacks, and an extra day before he would next be needed.
Though, the Dodgers could elect to save Buehler for a March 31 start, giving him five days’ rest after his final tuneup, then use an off day that week to provide him with another extra day of rest.