D’backs @ Dodgers March 31, 2019: Buehler looks to end the March with a series win

It’s tough to determine which of the three Dodger game this season has been the most drunk, so who knows what Sunday’s finale has in store for us. Either way, the Dodgers are 2-1 and today look to win their first series of the season. Last season, their first series win came in the sixth series they played beginning on April 15th. They did split their first series of the season last year which they’re guaranteed to at least do this season. The Dodgers have scored 34 runs in three games. It took the 2018 Dodger 11 games to score that many runs. If you want to be a pessimist, they’ve also allowed five runs in each game this season. Most of that has come in garbage time, with seven of those runs being scored off Brock Stewart and Yimi Garcia, who are probably the first two relievers on the chopping block. After a solid performance by Kenta Maeda last night, Dodger starters have now allowed three runs in 18 innings. Today, their best starter takes the hill.

Diamondbacks Dodgers
1:10 PM Los Angeles
2B Flores LF Pederson
3B Vargas 1B Bellinger
LF Peralta CF Pollock
RF Jones 3B Muncy
1B Lamb 2B Hernández
CF Marte RF Verdugo
SS Ahmed SS Taylor
Kelly C Martin
P Weaver (RHP) P Buehler (RHP)

Walker Buehler gets his first start of the season today after a stellar rookie season last year. Buehler finished third in Rookie of the Year voting, with Ronald Acuna Jr. and Juan Soto putting up monster years on the offensive side of the ball. Buehler finished 2018 with a 2.62 ERA in 137 1/3 innings during the regular season. He added 23 2/3 innings in the postseason, where he was slightly less dominant but still put up a 3.80 ERA in his first taste of October baseball. The last time he started at Dodger Stadium, Buehler tossed seven innings of two-hit ball in Game Three of the World Series, the only game the Dodgers won (in the 18th inning, more than a full game’s worth of innings after Buehler was removed). Buehler only had one outing during the Spring, so don’t get all up in arms if/when Dave Roberts removes him early. The Dodger bullpen was saved a bit yesterday, with Maeda pitching into the seventh inning and Russell Martin closing the game out. Like I said, drunk.

For the Diamondbacks, Luke Weaver makes his debut. He’s one of the bigger pieces Arizona got in return for one year of Paul Goldschmidt, who I can’t say I miss in those Diamondback jerseys. After bouncing around the minors and the majors for a couple seasons, Weaver started 25 games (and came out of the bullpen five times) last season for the Cardinals and struggled with a 4.95 ERA/4.45 FIP. Weaver was solid in 2017 with stellar peripherals, but he failed to repeat those in 2018. His strikeout rate plummeted from 28.6 percent in 2017 to 19.9 percent last year. His walk rate rose from 6.8 percent to 8.9 percent. His 4.45 FIP was up from his 3.17 FIP in 2017. He posted 1.3 fWAR in 60 innings in 2017, and then was only . worth 1.4 fWAR in 136 1/3 innings last year. His top prospect shine has worn off, but a change of scenery could help the 25 year old righty. 

As Roberts said last night, Corey Seager and Justin Turner each have scheduled off days today. Chris Taylor starts at short with Max Muncy sliding over to third. Cody Bellinger plays first base for the first time this season, and Alex Verdugo gets his first start of the year in right. 

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Seems like a Party Up (in there).

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Pretty sure the Dodgers have already clinched a Pythagorean playoff berth.

About Alex Campos

Alex Campos
I've been writing about the Dodgers since I graduated from Long Beach State, where I covered the Dirtbags in my senior year. I'm either very good or very bad at puns.