MLB: Dodgers’ Walker Buehler hopes for another strong outing vs. Reds

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Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler appears ready to resume his role as an elite-level starter as he takes the mound Saturday night on the road against the Cincinnati Reds.

Buehler will need his best effort against a Reds offense that unleashed some power Friday in a 9-6, series-opening victory over the Dodgers.

It has been a week of milestones for Buehler, who was out for nearly two years after a two surgeries. Last Saturday he earned his first win in three starts since returning. On Friday, he passed the two-year anniversary of his last win before elbow woes surfaced.

The win last weekend was against the Reds, when he showed his dominant form of old by giving up just three hits over six scoreless innings with seven strikeouts. It made Buehler 2-3 lifetime against the Reds in seven starts, with a 2.76 ERA.

Buehler (1-1, 4.05 ERA) said he moved slightly forward on the pitching rubber, and the change in perspective was all the difference.

“Where I used to stand, I could only do that when I was young,” said Buehler, 29. “That’s kind of a tough pill for me to swallow, but we’ve moved on the rubber, and lot of things kind of clicked into place.”

The key to returning to his dominant form of the past will be his ability to recover between outings. The Dodgers, who have lost three games in a row, are trying to add extra days between appearances for most of their starters.

“I’ve always been kind of anti-extra days, but the reality is there are a lot of guys on our team that prefer that,” Buehler said. “… We have a lot of guys that are throwing the ball really well, and these extra days help, so I’m not at a point to dictate any of that.”

The Reds will counter on Saturday with right-hander Hunter Greene (2-2, 3.22 ERA), who pitched well against the Dodgers at Los Angeles on Sunday but failed to get enough run support in a no-decision while allowing two runs on four hits with eight strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings. The Dodgers won 3-2 in 10 innings.

“Just one pitch got the best of me,” Greene said, referring to a slider that L.A. rookie Andy Pages hit for a two-run home run in the fourth inning. “Other than that, I felt like I was pretty focused. (Catcher) Luke (Maile) called a fantastic game, and we have been working really well together. … It was good.”

Greene watched the Reds’ runs flow Friday as Jonathan India hit a go-ahead grand slam in the fifth inning after Stuart Fairchild and Spencer Steer also hit home runs.

A Los Angeles-area native, Greene is 0-2 in three career starts against the Dodgers, with a 5.40 ERA. His only start against them at Cincinnati was a loss and came in his rookie season of 2022, when he was rocked for six runs on nine hits over five innings.

Despite his no-decision last weekend, Greene is in one of the better stretches of his career with a 2-0 record and a 2.03 ERA over his last five starts. He has 30 strikeouts in 31 innings over that stretch.

The Reds also won the series opener at Los Angeles last week but lost the next three games to the Dodgers and had one victory in the previous six games when they powered their way to Friday’s win.

–Field Level Media

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