Dodgers’ Walker Buehler bids to rekindle magic vs. Braves

MLB

A pair of pitchers with a rich playoff history against the team they are facing will square off Tuesday night when the Los Angeles Dodgers host the Atlanta Braves.

Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler (13-2, 2.02 ERA) will face the team he dominated in last year’s National League Championship Series, holding the Braves to one run over 11 innings in two starts to post a 0.82 ERA.

Braves right-hander Charlie Morton (12-5, 3.60) was not as successful against the Dodgers in that series, giving up five runs over 4 1/3 innings of a Game 5 loss to Los Angeles, which rallied to win the NLCS and the World Series.

Instead, Morton’s playoff memory to savor against the Dodgers came in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series as a member of the Houston Astros. He shut down Los Angeles over four relief innings to close out a championship.

Buehler, who is 2-0 with a 2.92 ERA in two regular-season starts against the Braves, is coming off a solid outing Wednesday at San Diego when he gave up an unearned run in 6 2/3 innings of a no-decision. That game is better known as the longest MLB game in the past two seasons, going 16 innings and ending in a 5-3 Dodgers’ victory.

Buehler has given up one run or less in six of his last seven starts, delivering a 1.13 ERA in that stretch (47 2/3 innings). In the outing where he did not give up one run, he gave up two runs.

Buehler might not have to be as sharp if the Dodgers hit with power, as they did in Monday’s 5-3 victory over the Braves. They hit four home runs in the first three innings.

The Dodgers got early home runs from Max Muncy, Will Smith, Mookie Betts and Corey Seager on Monday, with all coming off Braves left-hander Drew Smyly. It was a far cry from the offense that averaged 3.29 runs over the previous seven games.

The Dodgers had just three home runs in a just-completed, three-game weekend series against the Colorado Rockies, when they lost twice.

“It was great. The homers tonight, the at-bats, taking walks when we needed to, I thought we did a really nice job against Smyly,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Certainly to put up some crooked numbers and get a win was great.”

Morton already has faced the Dodgers this season, giving up four runs over five innings on June 5, but only two of those runs were earned. He gained the victory as the Braves won at home 6-4.

Last Tuesday against the New York Yankees, Morton was pushed around for four runs on six hits over five innings of a loss. Before that outing, though, he had a 2.63 ERA over his previous eight outings (48 innings) and will need to find that form again against the Dodgers.

“We’ve known for a few weeks what we were looking at with this part of the schedule,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said Monday on the Bally Sports South broadcast. “It’s the same as when we came out of the (All-Star) break, and it is just as grueling as it was then.”

–Field Level Media

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