Preview: Walker Buehler Makes Season Debut In Dodgers-Astros Series Opener
Evan Habeeb/USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers split their opening four-game series with the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium despite outscoring them, 22-10. Now looking to snap a two-game losing streak, the club hits the road for the start of a short series against the Houston Astros.

It’s L.A.’s first trip to Minute Maid Park since Game 5 of the 2017 World Series. Making his season debut is Walker Buehler, who looks to replicate the success he’s enjoyed in each of the past two years.

In 30 starts last season, the right-hander went 14-4 with a 3.26 ERA, 3.01 FIP and 1.04 WHIP across a career-high 182.1 innings of work. He struck out 215 batters and walked only 37 by comparison, which was good for a 5.81 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Buehler finished ninth in National League Cy Young voting and earned his first career All-Star selection. He has one career start against the Astros, which came back in 2018. Buehler allowed just two runs on four hits with eight strikeouts in a 3-2 Dodgers’ win.

The 26-year-old, who celebrates his birthday Tuesday, is stretched out to log five innings at the most. The Dodgers planned to piggyback him with Dustin May, but he was forced to make a spot start on Opening Day in place of the injured Clayton Kershaw.

Manager Dave Roberts nonetheless expressed confidence the team would have enough options in the bullpen to cover the game should Buehler falter. They added to that by recalling Josh Sborz, as Alex Wood was placed on the injured list because of shoulder inflammation.

While they are not active, the Dodgers have Rocky Gale, Victor Gonzalez and Zach McKinstry on the taxi squad.

The Astros counter on the mound with Framber Valdez, who similarly makes his first start of the season. The left-hander struggled last season, pitching to a 4-7 record, 5.86 ERA, 4.98 FIP and 1.67 WHIP with 68 strikeouts against 44 walks in 70.2 innings (eight games, seven starts).

Dodgers lineup

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

Astros lineup

CF: George Springer
2B: Jose Altuve
3B: Alex Bregman
LF: Michael Brantley
1B: Yuli Gurriel
SS: Carlos Correa
RF: Josh Reddick
DH: Kyle Tucker
C: Martn Maldonado

Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in our shows, and more!