Angels @ Dodgers July 13, 2018: Buehler returns to the first-place Dodgers

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

The Dodgers took three of four in San Diego, but didn’t look all that great doing it. After an eight-run outburst in game one, they were held to eight runs combined over the next three games. Strong starting pitching by Kenta Maeda and Ross Stripling gave the Dodgers sole possession of first place in the NL West for the first time this season. Tonight, the Dodgers begin their final series of the first half at home against the Angels.

Angels
Dodgers
7:10 PM
Los Angeles
RF
Calhoun
LF
Pederson
SS
Simmons
3B
Muncy
CF
Trout
RF
Kemp
LF
Upton
1B
Bellinger
3B
Valbuena
C
Grandal
2B
Kinsler
SS
Taylor
1B
Fernández CF Toles
C
Briceño
2B
Hernández
P
Peña (R)
P
Buehler (R)

Walker Buehler makes his return to the starting rotation today following a weird series of events. Buehler missed was out of action for 20 days, but returned in relief and got roughed up by the Cubs on June 28th. Buehler was then sent to the minors, which reeked of roster manipulation before the Dodgers placed him back on the DL. Now, without throwing a rehab outing in the minors, Buehler returns to start against the Angels. The injury may have been a bit of a blessing in disguise, as his innings count is much more manageable at this point. He’s thrown 52 1/3 innings in the majors and 16 in the minors, giving him 68 1/3 total more than halfway through the season. Dave Roberts threw out a theoretical 140-150 inning mark before the season, so it’s not too difficult to see a way where he continues to produce and has some innings available for the postseason.

Felix Pena makes his second consecutive start against the Dodgers. In Anaheim last Friday, Pena held the Dodgers to two runs and three hits over 5 1/3 innings while striking out eight. Pena hasn’t thrown more than 5 1/3 innings in any of his four starts this season, but has managed to strike out five or more in each outing and has only allowed six runs as a starter. On Friday, Pena struck out Max Muncy, Chris Taylor and Justin Turner two times each.

Turner is out of the lineup today after injuring himself in last night’s game. He’s considered day-to-day with an injured right adductor. Pat Venditte was optioned to make room for Buehler, which surprised me because I had no idea Venditte was on the roster. For the Angels, Albert Pujols was placed on the disabled list with left knee inflammation. His injury means that old friend José Miguel Fernández starts at first base tonight.

——

The big news of the day came out of nowhere.

During the press conference, it was revealed that Chase Utley will retire at the end of the season.

Hopefully Utley sticks around after this season in some sort of coaching capacity. It would be a shame for him to abandon his children to go spend time with his wife and kids.

——

The Dodgers are shifting their rotation for the final two games of this series.

Originally, Clayton Kershaw was slated to throw Saturday with Rich Hill throwing Sunday. Now, Alex Wood will start Saturday and Kershaw gets the final game before the All-Star break. Rich Hill is healthy and will be available in relief for those two games.

——

The already-crowded rotation might get even more crowded.

Hyun-Jin Ryu threw a bullpen today. He put together a fantastic April, but left his May 2 start with a groin strain. There’s no update on his timetable, but a bullpen is a nice first step in his return.

About Alex Campos

Alex Campos
I'm a writer that has blogged at a whole bunch of places about a whole bunch of sports. I was most recently writing for Chavez Ravine Fiends, but was also the former editor at Dodgers Way. I graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Marketing. At Long Beach, I covered the Dirtbags in the 2014 season as an assistant sports editor at the Daily 49er.