After an off day spent supporting Ellen and Clayton Kershaw by attending Kershaw’s Challenge seventh annual Ping Pong 4 Purpose at Dodger Stadium, the Los Angeles Dodgers are back on the field Friday night for the series opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The three-game set marks the final leg of a homestand in which the Dodgers are 6-1 on and in the midst of a five-game winning streak. Moreover, at 77-40, L.A. boasts its largest lead in the National League West (18 games) and are a season-best 37 games above .500.
They look to keep their momentum going with A.J. Pollock in the lineup for the first time since Sunday. Pollock missed two consecutive games because of groin tightness and was limited to a pinch-hit appearance in Wednesday’s walk-off win against the St. Louis Cardinals.
“For us, it’s more of where we’re at, risk versus reward,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the of the team erring on the side of caution with Pollock.
“He’s still in a good place as far as mechanics. But I think when you’re talking about the groin area, an extra day or two is obviously better. It’s something that throughout his career when coming back from injury, the groin has always been something he’s had to deal with when he’s come back.
“Knowing the history and knowing where he’s at right now, just to make sure we do everything we can to get him back to complete health. It’s really not a concern, just being extra cautious.”
On the mound, the Dodgers hand the ball to Walker Buehler, who is coming off a second career complete game (both have come this season). Buehler is finding previously pitching under a strict innings limit has now aided him in being more efficient and thus pitching deeper into games.
He’s logged at least seven innings in seven of his past 10 starts, and been utterly dominant at Dodger Stadium. Buehler enters 5-0 with a 2.54 ERA and 86 strikeouts over 87.1 innings across 10 home starts this season.
The Diamondbacks counter with Robbie Ray, who is 0-2 with a 4.42 ERA in three starts against the Dodgers this year. Although Ray is winless in those outings, he’s recorded nine strikeouts in each of the three.
Friday also marks the first official game of fans having the option to place food orders from select concessions stands via Postmates Live at Dodger Stadium.
CF: A.J. Pollock
3B: Justin Turner
C: Will Smith
RF: Cody Bellinger
LF: Kristopher Negrón
2B: Max Muncy
SS: Corey Seager
1B: Tyler White
P: Walker Buehler
RF: Jarrod Dyson
CF: Ketel Marte
2B: Eduardo Escobar
LF: David Peralta
1B: Christian Walker
3B: Jake Lamb
SS: Nick Ahmed
C: Carson Kelly
P: Robbie Ray