Preview: A.J. Pollock Returns To Lineup, Dodgers Go For Season Sweep Of Marlins
Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder A.J. Pollock hits a double against the Miami Marlins
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

For a second consecutive night, the Los Angeles Dodgers broke out the bats en route to a blowout 9-1 victory over the Miami Marlins.

With another win on Thursday, the Dodgers will not only clinch a series sweep at Marlins Park, but they’ll come away with a season sweep as well. L.A. defeated Miami three consecutive times when the two teams previously squared off at Dodger Stadium in July.

After back-to-back dominant starts by Dustin May and Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler looks to follow in their footsteps with a strong outing himself. The right-hander is coming off an impressive outing against the Arizona Diamondbacks in which he tossed six shutout innings while accumulating eight strikeouts.

Since making his first career All-Star appearance, Buehler has put up some of the best numbers for any starting pitcher in baseball. In five second half starts, he owns a 2-1 record, 1.89 ERA and 1.05 WHIP with 47 strikeouts against nine walks over 33.1 innings of work.

Buehler overall enters with a 10-2 record on the year, 3.08 ERA, 2.98 FIP and 1.01 WHIP in 137.1 innings pitched (22 starts). He last faced the Marlins on July 21 and enjoyed one of his best performances all season, throwing seven shutout innings while registering 11 strikeouts.

Miami counters with Caleb Smith, who has been the anchor of their young and inexperienced starting rotation. He leads the group in numerous categories, including wins (seven), ERA (3.71) and strikeouts (127).

Smith looks to rebound from a disastrous outing against the Atlanta Braves in which he allowed six runs on 10 hits over 4.2 innings pitched.

The 28-year-old has pitched much better at home this season, compiling a 5-2 record, 3.46 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 52 innings of work (nine starts). That’s in comparison to a 2-4 record, 3.95 ERA and 1.12 WHIP over 10 road outings.

Entering Thursday, Smith has faced the Dodgers only one previous time over the course of his three-year career. Last season, he was tabbed with a loss after allowing six baserunners and four runs in only three innings of work.

A.J. Pollock returns to the top of the Dodgers lineup, batting leadoff and playing center field. He went 3-for-3 with three doubles in the series opener, though was removed in the sixth inning and held out of Wednesday’s game as a precaution for his left groin injury.

Dodgers lineup:

CF: A.J. Pollock
3B: Justin Turner
C: Will Smith
1B: Cody Bellinger
2B: Max Muncy
RF: Kristopher Negrón
SS: Corey Seager
LF: Kyle Garlick
P: Walker Buehler

Marlins lineup:

SS: Jon Berti
2B: Isan Díaz
RF: Brian Anderson
1B: Garrett Cooper
3B: Starlin Castro
LF: Curtis Granderson
C: Jorge Alfaro
CF: Lewis Brinson
P: Caleb Smith