The Los Angeles Dodgers went into Thursday’s matchup against the Miami Marlins in prime position to complete a season series sweep. Their offense had produced an array of home runs the two games prior and Walker Buehler was on the mound.
While their bats eventually got going — setting a franchise record with 14 home runs in a three-game series and an MLB mark as the first team since at least 1908 to hit a minimum of four long balls in four consecutive games — Buehler failed to uphold his end of the bargain.
He hit the leadoff man in the bottom of the first inning and that wound up proving to be a sign of trouble that lied ahead. Command was an issue for Buehler and he was chased after just four-plus innings.
That the rocky start came on the road continued a trend in Buehler’s young career. He acknowledged as much and vowed to simply work toward improving away from Dodger Stadium, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“I know the splits aren’t pretty. I feel like I throw the ball well at Dodger Stadium, just always trying to figure out what differences there may be. I felt good today. Just didn’t execute and didn’t put the ball where I wanted. … There’s no way you can recreate it or do anything to replicate pitching on the road. I think continuing trying to get better in general is going to translate. I’ve had good games on the road in my career and I’ve had good games at home. Just a matter of having more good ones in general, not one or the other.”
Buehler exited responsible for the man on second base and ultimately was charged with five runs. He collected six strikeouts but twice hit Jon Berti and in addition issued three walks.
Buehler became the first Dodgers starter to allow more than one run or fail to reach the sixth inning since Kenta Maeda on Aug. 4.
The outing was Buehler’s shortest since completing four innings against the St. Louis Cardinals on April 11. While that too was on the road, the outing came during a time when Buehler was essentially still progressing through Spring Training.
He fell to 5-3 with a 4.37 ERA in 12 road starts this season, compared to 5-0 and a 2.33 ERA in 11 games at Dodger Stadium. Included in those outings are a pair of complete games.