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Dodgers vs. Astros starting lineup: Walker Buehler makes his season debut

PHOENIX, ARIZ. - FEBRUARY 20: Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler.
Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)
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Walker Buehler will make his season debut Tuesday in perhaps the most anticipated regular-season game 2020 will offer when the Dodgers take on the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

The right-hander will start after not pitching in a scrimmage or exhibition game during training camp. Buehler reported to camp behind the other starting pitchers. Instead, he faced hitters in simulated games. He logged four innings in his final tune-up last Wednesday.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Buehler will ideally log around five innings and 75 pitches Tuesday in the club’s first meeting with the Astros since Houston’s sign stealing in 2017 — when the Astros beat the Dodgers in the World Series — was exposed during the offseason.

Buehler’s start comes after the Dodgers placed Alex Wood on the injured list with shoulder inflammation, amplifying the need for Buehler to deliver for the club.

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The Astros will counter with Framber Valdez. The left-hander hasn’t appeared in a game this season. He’s made 13 major-league starts and appeared in 34 games since breaking into the majors in 2018.

The Dodgers are catching the Astros as they deal with a slew of pitching injuries. Two-time Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander was placed on the injured list Monday with an elbow injury.

Mookie Betts will lead off for the Dodgers with a left-hander on the mound. Relievers Ryan Pressly and Chris Devenski also recently suffered injuries, forcing the Astros to sign 43-year-old Fernando Rodney from an independent league Tuesday. Houston also called up right-hander Andre Scrubb, a former Dodgers farmhand. Closer Roberto Osuna is the team’s only active reliever with more than a year of service time.

Dodgers’ starting lineup for Tuesday’s game:

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1. Mookie Betts — Right field

Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts.
(Kent Nishimura; Allison Hong / Los Angeles Times)

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2. Max Muncy — First base

Dodgers infielder Max Muncy
(Kent Nishimura; Allison Hong / Los Angeles Times)

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3. Justin Turner — Third base

Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner
(Kent Nishimura; Allison Hong / Los Angeles Times)

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4. Cody Bellinger — Center field

Dodgers first baseman/outfielder Cody Bellinger.
(Kent Nishimura; Allison Hong / Los Angeles Times)

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5. Chris Taylor — Designated hitter

Dodgers utility player Chris Taylor.
(Kent Nishimura; Allison Hong / Los Angeles Times)

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6. Corey Seager — Shortstop

Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager.
(Kent Nishimura; Allison Hong / Los Angeles Times)

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7. AJ Pollock — Left field

Dodgers outfielder AJ Pollock.
(Kent Nishimura; Allison Hong / Los Angeles Times)

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8. Kiké Hernández — Second base

Dodgers utility player Kike Hernandez.
(Kent Nishimura; Allison Hong / Los Angeles Times)

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9. Will Smith — Catcher

Dodgers catcher Will Smith.
(Kent Nishimura; Allison Hong / Los Angeles Times)

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Walker Buehler — Starting pitcher

Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler.
(Kent Nishimura; Allison Hong / Los Angeles Times)