A pair of young pitchers with a high upside meet Wednesday when the Los Angeles Dodgers play host to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the middle game of a three-game series.
The Dodgers are expected to activate right-hander Walker Buehler from the 10-day injured list after he took a short time to recover from a blister on his right index finger. Buehler (1-0, 4.32 ERA) most definitely earned the skin abrasion since it came during an 11-strikeout performance against the Colorado Rockies on Aug. 21.
The Diamondbacks will counter with right-hander Zac Gallen (1-0, 2.09 ERA), who has never given up more than three runs in a start in his young career. In his most recent outing, Friday against the San Francisco Giants, Gallen set the record for most starts allowing three runs or fewer to start a career at 22.
By bringing back Buehler on Wednesday, the Dodgers (27-10) are able to give staff ace Clayton Kershaw an extra day of rest. Kershaw will now start in Thursday’s series finale against Arizona.
Buehler’s extra rest over the past 10 days was not exactly well-timed. He finally looked to be on track with his dominating outing against the Rockies after pitching below what was expected. One start prior, he gave up five runs (four earned) on six hits over 4 2/3 innings to the Los Angeles Angels.
However, he then limited Colorado to one run on four hits and no walks in six innings.
Buehler, 26, has not faced the Diamondbacks this season and is 1-0 lifetime against them with a 2.97 ERA in six starts.
After right-hander Ross Stripling was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday, the Dodgers’ rotation now consists of Kershaw, Buehler, Julio Urias, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin.
Left-handed starter Alex Wood (shoulder) also was activated from the IL on Tuesday, but he will pitch out of the bullpen. He had his first relief outing since 2018 on Tuesday and struck out two in a scoreless eighth inning.
“In talking to Alex, just understanding the roster and his upside to potentially help us on the active roster was going to be in the bullpen,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters. “He totally got it, and he’s all on board.”
Gallen, 25, already has a solid start against the Dodgers this season, holding them to two runs on five hits over six innings in an Arizona victory on July 31. He struck out a season-high nine and walked one.
Despite a penchant for not giving up runs in bunches, his first personal win of the season didn’t come until Friday, when he limited the Giants to one run in seven innings.
“I’ve been thinking about (the record) since the season (started),” Gallen told reporters after breaking the mark established by the Boston Red Sox’s Aaron Sele in 1993 and ’94. “I was looking at the schedule thinking, ‘If I get the record, I’ll earn it. There are some tough lineups in there.’ …
“It’s pretty cool. It’s one of those records you don’t have to think about too much, you can just go out and do your job, keep us in the game and it works out. I’m grateful.”
Gallen is 0-1 in three career starts against the Dodgers with a 3.31 ERA.
Tuesday was the Diamondbacks’ first game since trades punched a significant hole into their roster. Gone are left-hander Robbie Ray, outfielder Starling Marte, right-hander Archie Bradley and left-hander Andrew Chafin, all moved in different deals during a flurry of activity at Monday’s trade deadline.
The Diamondbacks (14-22) were competitive in the early innings Tuesday before falling 6-3 to the Dodgers, their 11th defeat in the past 12 games. The Dodgers have won nine of 11 and are on an eight-game home winning streak.
–Field Level Media