Dodgers @ Giants September 27, 2019: Buehler opens the final series of the season

Somehow, there are only three games left in the baseball season. The Dodgers are 103-56, which seems good. The Giants are 77-82, which is less so. There’s not much at stake in this series. Despite the disparity in their records, the Giants have a chance to take the season series against the Dodgers, as the Dodgers have won nine of the 16 meetings between the two teams. The Dodgers are still, probably, trying to piece together their postseason bullpen. The Dodgers also sit one game behind the Astros for the best record in baseball, and a good series (and help from the Angels) could give the Dodgers home field advantage through the entire postseason. The Giants have a chance to spoil that, and need to take a look at who will remain in the teams’ long-term plans.

Dodgers
Giants
7:15 p.m.
San Francisco
RF
Pederson
RF
Yastrzemski
1B
Muncy
1B
Belt
LF
Pollock
3B
Longoria
CF
Bellinger
C
Vogt
SS
Seager
CF
Pillar
C
Smith
LF
Dickerson
2B
Lux
SS
Crawford
3B
Hernández 2B Dubon
P
Buehler (R)
P
Cueto (R)

Walker Buehler gets the ball tonight for what will be his 30th start of the season. It’s been an up-and-down season for Buehler, whose had his fair share of outings where he’s looked unhittable and outings where he’s been highly hittable. He took only his fourth loss of the season in his last start, allowing four runs in six innings against the Rockies in LA. He’s only struck out six batters over his last two starts (11 innings) and has issued five walks after striking out 201 batters with 28 walks through his first 27 starts. It hasn’t been the best end of the season for Buehler, and he’ll have one last chance to right the ship before he starts (probably Game 2 or 3) of the NLDS.

This will be Buehler’s third start against the Giants this season, all of which have come in San Francisco. On April 30, Buehler allowed three runs and six hits in 5 1/3 against the Giants. Then on June 9, Buehler threw seven shutout innings, needing only 91 pitches to strike out nine and allow only six baserunners.

Johnny Cueto will make his fourth start of the season after returning from Tommy John Surgery on September 10. Cueto’s first two starts, at home against the Pirates and Marlins, went extremely well. He combined to throw 10 shutout innings and allowed only four hits and three walks while striking out six. Things weren’t as great last time out, as the Braves exploded for four second-inning runs off Cueto on three walks and two doubles. He got through four innings, but that second inning was a huge blip on what’s been a successful return for Cueto. Today will mark his final start of the season, and the nearly-$22 million he’s owed for the next two seasons means he’ll probably have to be part of the Giants’ plans for the foreseeable future.

Early signs have been promising for Cueto. Obviously it’s a small sample size, but his velocity is up from 2018 on each of his five pitches and are basically in line with his 2017 velocity. Cueto hasn’t allowed a homer this season, and also hasn’t surpassed five innings or 78 pitches in a game.

Justin Turner is out of the lineup once again, but Corey Seager does start at short. Enrique Hernandez draws the start at third.

——

Joe Kelly threw a bullpen.

Kelly is expected to make an appearance in the finale on Sunday.

Turner might be back tomorrow.

Turner started in the first game of the series in San Diego, but didn’t appear in the other two games.

——

Rich Hill will start Sunday, and his start will be a bit longer than his start in San Diego.

Hill is scheduled for three innings Sunday and a fourth in the bullpen. He threw a bullpen session and came out of it in one piece.

Tony Gonsolin is expected to pitch at some point today. Buehler isn’t on a pitch/innings count, despite it being his final tuneup of the regular season.

Gonsolin and Dustin May are both still in contention to be part of the October bullpen.

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.