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When will Walker Buehler pitch next for the Dodgers?

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Sunday’s LA starter remains TBD for now

MLB: San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Walker Buehler pitched seven scoreless innings in Tuesday’s win over the Padres, and would be in line to pitch Sunday’s regular season finale. But for now, the Dodgers starting pitcher for that game remains TBD.

“I’m not going to go through every scenario, but obviously every day the situation can change, which affects why he would pitch or wouldn’t pitch,” manager Dave Roberts said Friday.

The Dodgers are two games back of the Giants in the National League West, with three games remaining on the schedule for both teams. San Francisco’s magic number to clinch the division is two. Los Angeles needs three out of four outcomes to go their way on Friday and Saturday for Sunday’s game to even matter, but what are the options for Buehler?

Max Scherzer threw a bullpen session on Friday, two days after his start against San Diego, and Roberts reiterated that Scherzer would be his starter in a wild card game, despite allowing 11 runs on 17 hits in 10⅓ innings in his last two starts.

Dodgers-Brewers lineups

Pos Padres Pos Dodgers
Pos Padres Pos Dodgers
2B Wong (L) RF Betts
SS Adames SS Seager (L)
RF Garcia 2B Turner
LF Yelich (L) 3B Turner
1B Escobar (S) 1B Muncy (L)
3B Urías LF Pollock
CF Cain CF Taylor
C Narváez (L) C Barnes
P Lauer P Kershaw (L)

Asked if Buehler might be held back to pitch in relief on Wednesday, Roberts said, “I wouldn’t say it’s not an option, but it’s very unlikely.”

It might be as simple as if Sunday’s game matters in the standings, Buehler would start. Or perhaps he would start in a potential Game 163 Monday in San Francisco, if the Dodgers could force a one-game divisional tiebreaker.

Even if the division is decided before Sunday, Buehler would still need to keep his arm going in preparation for potentially starting in Game 1 of the NLDS, which would be Friday in San Francisco (after Scherzer starts Wednesday, in this scenario). But Buehler staying ready can probably be achieved by a bullpen session, rather than tacking on to an odometer that already has the right-hander at 202⅔ innings and counting, more than the 195 innings he threw in the 2019 regular season and postseason combined.

Notes

  • The Dodgers have six right-handed batters in their starting lineup against Brewers left-hander Eric Lauer, who is 6-0 with a 1.89 ERA against Los Angeles in his career. That includes Chris Taylor starting in centerfield for the first time since September 19.
  • Gavin Lux took fly balls in centerfield before Friday’s game, and he’s available in any capacity off the bench against Milwaukee. His tape outline is no longer on the centerfield wall, sadly.
  • The Brewers made a roster move before the game, activating reliever Hunter Strickland from the paternity list. Right-hander Miguel Sánchez was optioned to Triple-A Nashville.