LOS ANGELES — If success breeds confidence, Los Angeles Dodgers rookie pitcher Walker Buehler will be walking tall on Sunday.
Buehler will take the mound in the series finale against the San Diego Padres, the same team he was facing when he took part in a little club history earlier this month.
In a May 4 start during an international series at Monterrey, Mexico, Buehler opened with six hitless innings against the Padres and turned things over to the bullpen, which completed the first combined no-no in club history.
Finding success since has been a bit of a challenge, as the Dodgers have gone 0-3 in Buehler’s next three starts, although the right-hander has posted a solid 3.50 ERA over those last 18 innings.
“It’s fun to watch how he is in control of things,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Saturday. “He’s really growing right in front of our noses and it’s fun to watch. He’s very confident obviously and the more success he has the more confidence. He’s going to get It is nice when you know he’s taking the mound and you feel like you’re going to win.”
No matter what happens for the Padres on Sunday, it will be a combined effort from the pitching staff. With right-hander Luis Perdomo headed to the minor-league disabled list and no longer an option to start Sunday, the Padres will go with what they have.
Late Saturday, they announced that lefty Mike Strahm (0-2, 4.91 ERA) will get the start.
“We’ll use every single piece we think will give us the best opportunity to win,” Padres manager Andy Green said, according to mlb.com. “If we need to make a roster move on Saturday night to get us fresh arms for Sunday, we’ll make one or two or multiple roster moves.”
Green was waiting to name his starter until he knew exactly what he was working with, but it was believed to be either Adam Cimber or Matt Strahm.
Expect both of them to have a detailed scouting report on former Padre Matt Kemp, who has tormented his old club this season. Kemp entered Saturday’s game a dominating 15-for-26 (.577) with four home runs and 12 RBIs. To put that into perspective, he has six home runs and 25 RBIs total in 2018.
Even in defeat Saturday, the Dodgers have won five of their eight games against the Padres this season. The Dodgers entered Saturday having won seven of their last eight, getting hot while guys like Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill and Corey Seager are on the disabled list.
Seager is lost for the season after Tommy John surgery, but Kershaw (left biceps) and Hill (blister) participated in a simulated game Saturday, with at least Kershaw tracking to be back in about 10 days, although there was some conjecture that he could return Thursday.
The Padres are 12-11 in May, and have a chance for a winning month with their young roster. One sign of the Padres’ youth: Their 36 extra-base hits from rookies, before Saturday’s game, were most in the National League.