Dodgers fall to Giants as Walker Buehler leaves early because of elbow discomfort
Walker Buehler’s season was already heading for another disappointing turn Friday night, after he gave up three runs in four innings against the San Francisco Giants.
By the end of the Dodgers’ 7-2 loss, however, Buehler’s underwhelming stat line was the least of his worries.
After he exited the game following just four innings and 70 pitches, the Dodgers announced that Buehler was experiencing right elbow discomfort. The team didn’t immediately know the severity of the injury. Buehler said he was going to get tests Saturday morning.
Buehler said the issue first popped up after he threw a breaking ball in the third inning. He tried to pitch through it but left the game before the start of the fifth when the discomfort didn’t subside.
Asked for his concern level, Buehler said he didn’t want to speculate until he and the team’s training staff had more information. He said ever since he underwent Tommy John surgery as a prospect in 2015, he has had various sensations in his elbow over the years. This one, however, “was just a little bit different and something we need to check out,” he said.
The Dodgers will need pitcher Walker Buehler to pitch like the old Buehler if they want to win the World Series in October.
Added manager Dave Roberts: “I’m trying not to get too out ahead of myself. But anytime when you’re talking about the elbow, you’re talking about a guy like Walker who can’t finish his start because of discomfort, it’s certainly concerning.”
Before his early exit, the right-hander had shown flashes of his old self during parts of Friday’s game but still struggled to limit damage as his ERA rose to 4.02.
The Giants scored two runs in the second after Joc Pederson hit a full-count fastball for a leadoff single, Evan Longoria sneaked an RBI double inside the bag at third base and Brandon Crawford hammered a curveball for an RBI single, turning what had been an early one-run lead for the Dodgers into a 2-1 deficit.
The third inning was one of Buehler’s best of the season. He hit his spots with his fastball, got swings-and-misses with his breaking pitches and struck out all three batters he faced.
However, it was also the inning in which his elbow discomfort surfaced.
“I threw a breaking ball in the third inning, and it kind of grabbed a little bit and kind of didn’t go away,” Buehler said.
On Friday, Deadspin asked a federal district court to toss what attorneys for the website called Trevor Bauer’s “meritless defamation lawsuit [intended] to punish truthful commentary.”
When he returned to the dugout, he alerted Roberts and the training staff but wanted to try to keep pitching. He began the fourth with a strikeout but then gave up a solo home run to Darin Ruf on a slider that stayed over the inner half of the plate. Later in the inning, Buehler exchanged words with plate umpire Chris Conroy after disagreeing with a ball call, prompting pitching coach Mark Prior to calm Buehler down.
Buehler ended the inning a few pitches later but didn’t return to the mound again.
“Just talking to the trainers, talking to Mark, [we were] feeling like that was enough,” Roberts said, adding: “Certain discomforts you can manage through. This one tonight, clearly he felt that any more could potentially be damaging.”
The Giants quickly pulled away against Buehler’s replacement, left-hander Justin Bruihl, in the fifth. They scored three runs in the inning to extend their lead to 6-2, including two on a single by former Dodger Pederson after the team elected to intentionally walk the batter in front of him to set up a left-hander-on-left-hander matchup.
The Dodgers’ offense, which opened the scoring on Chris Taylor’s RBI double in the second and got a solo home run from Gavin Lux in the fifth, couldn’t muster anything else the rest of the night, even after Giants starter Jakob Janis left in the sixth because of a hamstring strain.
Ruf hit another home run in the eighth inning to put away the game. But by then, all attention was already turning to Buehler’s status moving forward.
Buehler said the elbow issue wasn’t to blame for any of his previous struggles this season. There weren’t any noticeable signs of trouble Friday until his early exit either.
But now he and the Dodgers only can wait before determining how severe the injury is.
“I’ve had a Tommy John surgery, so I think [the concern is] a little bit heightened,” Buehler said, before adding: “But before we kind of dive into that, we need to know what we’re dealing with. … I don’t really have a whole lot to say in terms of specifics on it just because I don’t know what’s going on yet.”
A day after ordering a two-strike intentional walk that backfired against the Dodgers, White Sox manager Tony La Russa said he’d do it all over again.
Before Friday’s game, Roberts announced the team’s new rotation for the rest of this weekend, with Clayton Kershaw now slated to pitch Saturday and Julio Urías set to go Sunday.
Originally, those two were flipped. But Roberts said Kershaw felt ready to pitch Saturday, which will be six days removed from his minor league rehabilitation start this past Sunday, and that the team felt Urías would benefit from an extra day of rest.
Craig Kimbrel back
Closer Craig Kimbrel rejoined the Dodgers on Friday after missing the week’s series at Chicago following the birth of his second child, Joseph Watson.
Dodgers say Walker Buehler left game with right elbow discomfort
The Dodgers announced that Walker Buehler left tonight’s game with right elbow discomfort, which would explain why he was removed from the game after four innings and just 70 pitches.
The team didn’t immediately disclose any other information about the injury.
Buehler didn’t appear to be in distress when he left the mound after the fourth inning. His fastball velocity was even a little higher than it has been this season too.
There should be more information after the game.
Giants starter leaves with injury, but Dodgers still can’t chip away at deficit
After throwing a pitch in the sixth inning to Max Muncy in the sixth inning, Giants starter Jakob Junis went to the ground with a hamstring injury.
He was briefly checked out by a trainer before being removed from the game after five-plus innings giving up only two runs.
The Dodgers haven’t been able to do much against the Giants’ bullpen since then either.
They stranded a Will Smith single in the sixth inning and a leadoff walk from Chris Taylor in the seventh.
Mid 7th: Giants lead 6-2
Justin Bruihl gets knocked around as Giants open up big lead
Assuming there was no issue that forced him out of the game, the decision to pull Walker Buehler after four innings did not work.
In the fifth, the Giants jumped all over Justin Bruihl, scoring three runs on four hits and a walk.
The key moment: With two on, two outs and first base open, the Dodgers elected to intentionally walk right-handed hitter Wilmer Flores to get a lefty-lefty matchup with Bruihl against former Dodger Joc Pederson.
It did not work.
After falling behind 2-and-0, Bruihl threw a center-cut sinker that Pederson pounded through the right side of the infield for a two-run single.
End 5th: Giants lead 6-2
Walker Buehler gets early hook, exits after four innings
Walker Buehler’s night came to unexpectedly early end.
Despite being at just 70 pitches, and even with a couple of right-handers due up to begin the fifth, Buehler was pulled from the game in favor of left-hander Justin Bruihl.
Buehler’s final line was four innings, three runs, four hits, no walks and six strikeouts. He looked better at times, but his season ERA still rose to 4.02.
Bottom 5th: Giants lead 3-2
Walker Buehler gives up home run, exchanges words with home plate umpire
After five strikeouts in a row, Walker Buehler came back to earth in the fourth inning, when Darin Ruf smacked an inside slider for a solo home run to left field.
Later in the inning, Buehler appeared to exchange words with home plate umpire Chris Conroy after a close ball call. It wasn’t the first time Buehler seemed frustrated by the strike zone.
Pitching coach Mark Prior came out to calm down the right-hander, and Buehler then proceeded to end the inning a few pitches later.
In the top of the fifth, the Dodgers got back the run when Gavin Lux hit a solo blast for his first home run since April 13.
Mid 5th: Giants lead 3-2
Giants take lead with two runs in second
Walker Buehler pitched a 1-2-3 first inning.
In the second, however, he ran into trouble.
Joc Pederson led off with a single, working a full count before lining a fastball up the middle. After he stole second, Evan Longoria snuck an RBI double inside the third base bag, tying the score 1-1.
The Giants took the lead on the next pitch, a center-cut curveball that Brandon Crawford hammered back up the middle for an RBI single.
Buehler limited the damage there, but his pitch count is already up to 41 through two innings.
End 2nd: Giants lead 2-1
Dodgers jump in front on Chris Taylor’s double
The Dodgers have taken an early lead, jumping in front on Chris Taylor’s RBI double in the top of the second.
Taylor’s double — a line drive into the left-center-field gap that allowed Justin Turner to score from first — was already the Dodgers’ fourth hit of the night against Giants starter Jakob Junis.
Mid 2nd: Dodgers lead 1-0
Dodgers’ rotation is set: Clayton Kershaw to pitch Saturday, Julio Urías on Sunday
That takes care of one mystery.
Before Friday night’s series opener agains the San Francisco Giants, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced the team’s new rotation for the rest of this weekend, with Clayton Kershaw now slated to pitch Saturday and Julio Urías set to go Sunday.
Originally, those two were flipped. But Roberts said Kershaw felt ready to pitch Saturday, which will be six days removed from his minor league rehabilitation start this past Sunday, and that the team believed Urías would benefit from an extra day of rest in the wake of the club’s recent 31-games-in-30-days stretch.
“It just seems like both players understood and agreed with it,” Roberts said.
With that settled, the Dodgers will turn their attention to Walker Buehler’s start in the series opener.
Buehler (6-2, 3.84 ERA) is trying to get back on track after giving up nine earned runs in 8 1/3 innings over his last two starts.
The Dodgers will send out their normal lineup for the series opener as they face Giants right-hander Jakob Junis (3-1, 2.51 ERA).
Max Muncy shows off his fiery side to Tony La Russa in Dodgers’ wild win over White Sox
CHICAGO — Max Muncy believed he was in a much better place Thursday.
During the sixth inning, Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa dared him to prove it.
In a stunning, unexpected and inexplicable piece of decision-making, La Russa decided to not only intentionally walk Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner with Muncy on deck, but do it in a 1-and-2 count after a wild pitch opened up first base.
In a cathartic, emotional and perhaps season-altering sequence that followed, Muncy not only made La Russa pay by crushing a three-run home run, giving him five RBIs in the Dodgers’ 11-9 win. The fiery infielder might also have rediscovered part of his old self in the process.
“I’m glad they did it,” teammate Freddie Freeman said with a smirk. “Because I think it got us Max Muncy back.”
How to watch and stream the Dodgers this season
Here’s a look at the Dodgers broadcast and streaming schedule for the remainder of the 2022 regular season:
Walker Buehler starts Friday, but Dodgers starters for Saturday and Sunday are TBD
SAN FRANCISCO — The Dodgers will likely have their three big-name pitchers take the mound for this weekend’s series against the San Francisco Giants.
The order they start, however, remains to be determined.
The one certainty is that Walker Buehler will pitch Friday night, trying to shake off a couple poor starts last week and a disappointing start to the season overall.
Buehler is 6-2 with a 3.84 in 11 starts.
“It’s natural that his confidence has been shaken little bit,” manager Dave Roberts said this week. “But I’m gonna keep betting on that he’ll right the ship.”
Clayton Kershaw will also take the mound this weekend in his return from injury, although it’s now undecided whether that will happen Saturday or Sunday.
Earlier this week, Kershaw had been announced as Sunday’s likely starter as the team, after he missed the last month with SI joint inflammation in his lower back.
But then, following Thursday’s game, Roberts said that Kershaw could be possibly moved up to Sunday, potentially flipping spots with Julio Urías — the original Saturday starter — in the rotation order.
Kershaw started his season strong, going 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in his first five starts before getting hurt.
Urías has been up and down this year, but had a better outing in his last start against the New York Mets last week. He enters with a 3-5 record and 2.78 ERA.
Closer Craig Kimbrel is also expected to rejoin the team in San Francisco, after missing this week’s trip to Chicago while on paternity leave.
The Giants’ pitching plans this weekend are also unclear. Right-hander Jakob Junis is expected to pitch Friday, and lefty Carlos Rodón will go Sunday. Saturday’s starter, however, is TBD, with the team expected to likely have a bullpen game.
The Dodgers enter their first trip to Oracle Park this year at 37-20, leading the National League West by two games and holding a 6 1/2 game edge over the 30-26 Giants.