The club’s top prospect made his major league debut in 2017, but he was limited to a role as a late-season hard-throwing reliever, as the club was determined to keep his innings count low.
Buehler gave up eight runs in 9 1/3 innings in 2017, but four came in his second career outing when the moment seemed to overwhelm him. He finished the year giving up two runs over his final five innings, but was not added to the roster for the playoffs.
“September, obviously it was moving pretty quick for him,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, according to mlb.com. “It was a learning process. But I think spring training he showed really well. I love his four-pitch mix and I think he’s going to come here and pitch well.”
Buehler saw only four innings of action in Cactus League games this spring, giving up just one hit without allowing a run. He made more of a showing in minor-league camp, then went 1-0 with a 2.10 ERA in three starts for Triple-A Oklahoma City. In 13 innings, he had 16 strikeouts and four walks.
The Marlins come to Los Angeles after getting swept in a four-game series by the Milwaukee Brewers. Justin Bour drove in both runs but the Marlins struck out 11 times in a 4-2 loss on Sunday and lost seven of their last eight games, winning only at New York against the Yankees on Tuesday in that stretch.
While the Dodgers are going with a youngster in Monday’s series opener, the Marlins will go with something of a hot pitcher. Left-hander Jarlin Garcia (1-0, 0.86 ERA) has been impressive in his transition to a starting role.
Garcia’s victory came in Tuesday’s 9-1 win at Yankee Stadium, seeing his streak of 10 consecutive hitless innings end in a game where he worked around five walks. In 11 innings in the starting rotation, he has given up just one hit.
Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto isn’t about to make excuses for the club’s struggles, saying the field at Dodger Stadium on Monday is where the turnaround must begin.
“Nothing clicks unless you’re on the field,” Realmuto said Sunday, according to mlb.com. “It’s all about what you do in the batter’s box, what you’re doing on the mound. There’s not too much you can do to stop this ship until you go out there and perform and win games when the pressure is on the line.”
The Marlins head to Los Angeles facing a Dodgers team that is finally starting to play some quality baseball. The Dodgers have won five of their last six games, earning a sweep at San Diego and winning two of three against the Nationals over the weekend after Yasmani Grandal hit a two-run double, Cody Bellinger hit an RBI double and Corey Seager drove in the tiebreaking run in the seventh during a 4-3 win on Sunday.
The Dodgers are now 10-10, moving back to the .500 mark for the first time since they were 2-2 on April 1 when they split the opening four-game series of the season with the San Francisco Giants.
The Marlins will enter the three games at Dodger Stadium in last place in the NL East at 5-16, and are just 2-7 on the road. The two road victories are tied for the lowest in the major leagues.
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