Buehler, Buehler: What Will Dodgers Rookie Do for Encore vs. Reds?

Wednesday, May 9, 2018 12:55 PM UTC

Wednesday, May. 9, 2018 12:55 PM UTC

The last time Dodgers rookie Walker Buehler was on the mound, he was part of history. Buehler is back on the bump Thursday against the putrid Reds.

Cincinnati Reds at LA DodgersFree MLB Pick: Under (& Dodgers RL)Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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It’s two disappointing teams opening a four-game series Thursday night (10:10 ET streamed on ESPN+) in Los Angeles as the Reds visit the Dodgers.

It’s hard to group these franchises together as disappointments because expectations were so different entering the season – but it’s still true. Cincinnati certainly didn’t expect to make the playoffs or anything but at least improve upon the 68 wins the team put up each of the past two years. The Reds would be lucky to reach 68 victories at this point as they battle the Baltimore Orioles for the worst record in baseball.

The Dodgers were preseason favorites on the MLB futures to repeat as National League champions and certainly win the NL West for a sixth straight season, but they have been hammered by injuries (namely Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Clayton Kershaw) and sit below .500 and fourth in the division. With Seager done for the year and Kershaw’s return TBA, it’s sure hard to see L.A. winning the West without trade reinforcements. Second baseman Logan Forsythe and starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu also are on the DL.

The Dodgers swept the season series last year (6-0) against the Reds for the first time since 2006. L.A. has won every home series vs. Cincinnati since 2011. Turner killed the Reds in 2017, going 8-for-16 with two homers and three walks. Cody Bellinger had four homers and seven RBIs. Seager was 7-for-21 with four doubles, a homer and seven RBIs.

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Mr. Combined No-Hitter

It’s rookie Walker Buehler on the mound for Los Angeles, and he comes off a historic outing. Last Friday on a rainy night in Mexico, Buehler combined with Tony Cingrani, Yimi Garcia and Adam Liberatore on a no-hitter against the Padres. Buehler went six with eight Ks and three walks.

It was the Dodgers’ 23rd all-time no-hitter, by far most in baseball, but the franchise’s first combined no-no. It was the 12th combined no-hitter ever and 10th no-no of the Padres, the most in the majors. Incidentally, San Diego is the only active franchise to never have one of its pitchers throw a no-hitter. Finally, it was the first no-no in MLB history thrown outside the United States or Canada.

Buehler (2-0, 1.13) is one of the top pitching prospects in baseball so the Dodgers were never going to let him go nine full innings to try and complete the no-no himself. Buehler, who had Tommy John surgery not long after being drafted in the first round three years ago, was pulled after 93 pitches. Buehler originally was called up to fill in temporarily but has been so good – plus with injuries elsewhere in the rotation -- that the team says he’s here to stay. Buehler has allowed just 10 hits with 19 strikeouts in 16 innings. His seven walks are a tad high. It’s Buehler’s first look at the Reds. Manager Dave Roberts said his young star will continue to pitch "with restrictions."

Cincinnati also goes with a 23-year-old right-handed rookie in Tyler Mahle (2-4, 4.35), a seventh-round pick out of a Los Angeles-area high school in 2013 by the Reds. Mahle threw 20 innings last year, but not enough to lose his rookie status (Buehler also came up late last year). This season, he has made seven starts and the past three have been quality (at least 6 IP, no more than 3 ER allowed). Batters are hitting .257 off Mahle, who has struck out 42 and walked 11 in 39.1 innings. Homers have been a problem, allowing nine. This will be Mahle’s first start vs. the Dodgers.

  • Reds are 0-7 in their last 7 Thursday games.
  • Reds are 9-29 in the last 38 meetings in Los Angeles.
  • Reds are 1-5 in Mahle’s last 6 starts vs. a team with a losing record.
  • Under is 8-1-1 in Dodgers’ last 10 vs. National League Central.

Both these good young pitchers will be new to the opposing lineups. That indicates an ‘under’ call for a Thursday MLB pick. The ‘under’ is 8-2-1 in Mahle’s past 11 starts. Also, a smaller lean to the Dodgers on the runline.

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