The Los Angeles Dodgers remain confident that Walker Buehler will look more like the rookie pitcher that dominated early in the season when he takes the mound Tuesday against the Milwaukee Brewers.
There appears to be far less speculation from the Brewers on what they will get out of left-hander Wade Miley, who is 3-0 in six career starts at Dodger Stadium with a 2.41 ERA.
The Dodgers are still waiting for Buehler to round back to form after the young right-hander spent essentially a month away from the club because of a microfracture in his right rib cage. The injury occurred when he was hit by a line drive in June.
Buehler did pitch an inning with the Dodgers on June 28 against the Chicago Cubs, but struggled in what was essentially a rehab outing on the major league level. He was immediately sent to Class A Rancho Cucamonga to get back on track.
His two starts since returning have yielded mixed results. He held the Los Angeles Angels to two runs over five innings on July 13, but the Philadelphia Phillies scored five runs off him in 4 2/3 innings on Wednesday. The five runs matched a season high.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Buehler never recovered in that outing from a 13-pitch opening at-bat against the Phillies’ Andrew Knapp.
“I thought Walker still pitched well,” Roberts said. “Do I expect him to be even better this time out? Absolutely.”
There is something about facing the Dodgers that seems to inspire Miley. Not only has he pitched well at Dodger Stadium, but he held the Dodgers to one unearned run over six innings on July 20 at Milwaukee.
Miley gave up two runs over five innings in a Brewers victory at San Francisco on Thursday.
Slugging Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar was given the day off Monday in a nod to his recent struggles but is expected to return to the lineup Tuesday. Aguilar has just six hits over his last 47 at-bats.
Aguilar was second in the National League in slugging percentage at .582 at the start of play Monday.
“I’ve already passed (this test) before,” Aguilar said, according to MLB.com. “Being in Triple-A for three years, it was tough. It kind of you prepares you for things. … Baseball is up and down, and right now I’m a little bit down. But we’re winning games, and that’s the most important thing. Now we’ve got to keep pushing.”
The Brewers’ offense has been led of late by Los Angeles-area native Christian Yelich, who is the most recent National League player of the week after going 15-for-29 in the seven games before Monday. He extended his hit streak to 14 games with a double in the first inning Monday as the Brewers earned a 5-2 victory.
Manny Machado made his home debut Monday at Dodger Stadium and L.A.’s newest superstar was greeted with a power outage and a 23-minute delay after just one inning. Machado, who made his Dodgers debut last week at Milwaukee, homered in the Dodgers’ defeat.