Dodgers @ D-backs September 25, 2018: Buehler for the series win


The Dodgers (88-69) continue their final stretch of the regular season. They look to lock up the series win in the desert after defeating the lost looking Diamondbacks (79-78) Tuesday night for their third straight late-season victory.

6:40 PM
Grandal 3B Owings
Buehler (R)
Koch (R)

The eliminated D-backs are trying to play spoiler, but the Dodgers have been stepping it up to defend their NL West title. They’ve won eight of their last 10 games and are 15-7 this month, peaking at just the right time. Now down to a two-way division battle with the Rockies (86-70), the Dodgers are 1 1/2 games ahead with a magic number of 5 with five games to go. Every game is a must-win at this point. The Rockies also know it’s crunch time and have won four straight, blowing out the Phillies 10-1 on Monday. It’s not going to be easy.

The Dodgers will have their second ace, Walker Buehler (7-5, 2.74 ERA, 3.00 FIP), on the mound for Tuesday’s showdown with the D-backs. Buehler’s coming off of one of his best starts. He struck out a career-high dozen Colorado batters over six frames in a no-decision last time out. The young right-hander’s emergence as the Dodgers’ No. 2 starter has been one of the better stories of the season, and he’ll garner some Rookie of the Year attention even if he’s a longshot to win it.

Buehler hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last 15 innings of work. He has 10.3 K/9 on the season and has struck out nearly 4 1/2 times more batters than he has walked. He’s been extremely effective over the second half, holding opposing batters to a .171 average in 11 starts. Buehler’s dominant when he gets two strikes on a batter, and on a 0-2 count, opposing hitters have only mustered six hits including one extra-base hit (.103/.119/.121/.239) against him all year.

This will be Buehler’s first career start at Chase Field. He’s only faced the D-backs once on September 2 in a no-decision at Dodger Stadium. With how focused and polished he’s been, it’s hard to remember that he really doesn’t have much major-league experience yet. In his lone start vs. Arizona, Buehler went 6 1/3 innings and allowed one run on two hits with nine strikeouts and three walks on 103 pitches. Do you remember which Snake was able to get those two hits off him? Paul Goldschmidt, of course. Goldy is back in Torey Lovullo‘s lineup, manning first base.

Buehler will get one more start in the season finale on Sunday in San Francisco. Dave Roberts said Rich Hill was going to pitch again this week, but he switched up the plans.


Matt Koch (5-5, 4.26 ERA, 5.74 FIP) makes a spot start for Arizona. Koch will start in place of Clay Buchholz, who suffered a season-ending flexor tendon strain while warming up for a start against the Rockies on Sept. 13.

Overall, Koch is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two career games (one start) against the Dodgers. He allowed three runs on four hits with three strikeouts and three walks in five innings against LA back on May 1, but he didn’t factor into the decision. Cody Bellinger hit a bomb against him in the early-season game. Belli’s in center field, batting fifth tonight.

It was really hard to see Christian Walker hit in the face with a Kenta Maeda fastball last night. Unfortunately, he suffered a season-ending injury.

In lighter news, some of the Dodgers received new kicks today.

Those will get them at least five more dongs each.

About Stacie Wheeler

Stacie Wheeler, born and raised in So Cal, has been writing about the Dodgers since 2010. She wrote daily as the co-editor of Lasorda's Lair for five long years, and she has also written for Dodgers Nation, Dodger Blue 1958 and The Hardball Times. She currently contributes to True Blue LA. Stacie graduated from the University Of Southern California with a bachelor's degree in Cinema-Television. You can also watch her videos on her YouTube channel, DishingUpTheDodgers.