Rockies @ Dodgers May 31, 2024: Walker Buehler starts brief homestand against Colorado

The Dodgers (36-22) looked putrid against the Reds (25-32) last weekend, getting swept in Cincinnati after losing two games against Arizona (25-31). Their five game losing streak was brief in comparison to some other teams, but still quite ugly to watch. They bounced back with a three game sweep of the Mets (23-33), and will look to keep their win streak going against the relatively hot Colorado Rockies (20-35). The Rockies are 13-13 in May, and 12-7 since May 9, the sixth best record in baseball over that stretch. They are however just 5-5 in their last ten as they had a seven-game winning streak in the early parts of that stretch.

This three-game series is a strange scheduling decision, as the Dodgers were just in Cincinnati and New York, flew back to Los Angeles for this three game series, then go back to the east coast to face the Pirates (26-30) and Yankees (39-19). Strange. Regardless, they get two days off in a five day stretch, so I’m sure they’re not terribly upset. Walker Buehler will start tonight up against the right-handed Dakota Hudson.

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7:10 PM Los Angeles
RF Blackmon (L) SS Betts
SS Tovar DH Ohtani (L)
3B McMahon (L) 1B Freeman (L)
C Díaz C Smith
DH Bryant LF Hernández, T.
2B Rodgers RF Heyward (L)
1B Montero 2B Lux (L)
CF Doyle 3B Rojas
LF Cave (L) CF Pages
P Hudson (R) P Buehler (R)

Miguel Rojas went 4-for-5 with a double in Wednesday’s game against the Mets, and has his OPS up to .790, and his wRC+ at 128. Pretty absurd start to the year for him, and he’s earned himself more playing time. Will Smith was slumping in May, with just a .681 OPS and 95 wRC+ leading into the series against the Mets, but has four hits in his last nine plate appearances with three homers. His 147 WRC+ is 16th in baseball (tied with Freddie Freeman), and due to being great behind the plate, he’s tied for 11th in baseball in fWAR at 2.4.

Here’s how Colorado and the Dodgers compare:

The Rockies offense has been terrible as whole, there’s no denying that. Their OPS and batting average as a team are solid, but benefit significantly from playing at Coors Field. wRC+ is park adjusted, clearly indicating they’ve been one of the worst hitting teams when adjusting for their home park.

It hasn’t all been bad, as they’ve had quite a few players be successful to this point. Ryan McMahon (.849 OPS, 127 wRC+) has been great, while Ezequiel Tovar (.783 OPS, 107 wRC+), Elias Díaz (.774 OPS, 104 wRC+), and Brenton Doyle (.768 OPS, 107 wRC+) have all been good. The issue for them is that those guys have only covered 879 of the team’s 2080 plate appearances this year (42.2%). Charlie Blackmon hasn’t been good (82 wRC+), while Kris Bryant (63 wRC+, -0.4 fWAR), and Elehuris Montero (62 wRC+, -0.9 fWAR) have been terrible.


Here’s how Buehler and Hudson compare. Buehler has made just four starts this season, but Hudson’s ranks are among 102 starters with at least 50 innings pitched.

It’s been a rough go of it for Hudson this year. His last outing was solid however, as he allowed just two runs on five hits and one walk over six innings against the Phillies. He’s allowed a whopping 28 walks thus far, while striking out the exact same number of batters. His strikeout minus walk rate of 0% is dead last, just below James Paxton at 1.4% (14.2 K% – 12.8 BB%). He relies upon a sinker (90.6 MPH), and a four-seamer (90.2) as his hard stuff, but they have both been demolished this year. His slider has been fine but not great, and his changeup has been bad. However, his curveball seems to have been very effective as he’s yet to allow a hit on it. He spins it well, and gets above average horizontal movement on it. It might be more of a sweeper, but whatever it is, it’s working. He’s thrown it 94 times, and it’s been put in play just eight times, while generating a 36.4% whiff rate. Despite all this he throws it just 11% of the time. Don’t know what to tell you there.

Buehler took the loss against the Reds in his last outing, allowing three runs on six hits and one walk while striking out four over 5.2 innings. He didn’t have his best stuff, generating only six whiffs while giving up two solo homers. He’s been out for so long, there will undoubtedly be ups and downs. He’s regularly using six pitches this season, as he looks to get back into the swing of things. He’s sitting at 95.5 MPH with his four-seamer that he’s throwing a third of the time, and 95.1 MPH with his sinker that he uses against right-handed batters. He throws his upper 70’s curve and high 80’s changeup to lefties, while using his low 80’s slider against right-handed batters, and his cutter against both. It’s fun to see a guy use so many different pitches, and it’s just enjoyable to watch Buehler again after two years.


Evan Phillips returning is huge for this bullpen. He last pitched on 5/3 and missed more time than I expected, but said he’s felt 100% for a couple weeks now. No surprise to see the Dodgers proceed cautiously with him. He’s allowed just one earned run in 13.2 innings with 17 strikeouts to four walks with eight saves in eight attempts.

Elieser Hernández had an 8.38 ERA over 9.2 innings pitched for the Dodgers, and he was the clear option to get designated for assignment. Best of luck.


This is a good look by Eno Sarris into Gavin Stone‘s early season success.


First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. PDT on SNLA.

About Allan Yamashige

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Just a guy living in Southern California, having a good time writing about baseball. Hated baseball practice as a kid, but writing about it rules. Thanks for reading!