HOUSTON — 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.
Dodgers left-hander Alex Wood was placed on the injured list with shoulder inflammation Tuesday, dealing another blow to the starting rotation.
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.
1. Mookie Betts — Right field
2. Max Muncy — First base
3. Justin Turner — Third base
4. Cody Bellinger — Center field
5. Chris Taylor — Designated hitter
6. Corey Seager — Shortstop
7. AJ Pollock — Left field
8. Kiké Hernández — Second base
9. Will Smith — Catcher
Walker Buehler — Starting pitcher