It might seem like a grind at times, but Walker Buehler continues to see positive results on the mound for the surging Los Angeles Dodgers.
Meanwhile, Marcus Stroman might have found his form with the reeling Chicago Cubs.
Buehler will look to help the visiting Dodgers to a sixth straight win and series sweep of Stroman and the Cubs, who have dropped four in a row, on Sunday night.
After going 1-1 with a 4.02 ERA in his first three 2022 starts, Buehler (3-1, 2.12 ERA) has thrown 14 scoreless innings to win his past two. Following his complete-game, three-hit, 10-strikeout performance at Arizona on April 25, the right-hander opened May by yielding six hits, but no runs, over five innings in Los Angeles’ 6-3 home win over Detroit last Sunday.
“To still manage an outing, to up some zeroes, get him back on line for his next start — that’s what top-end guys do,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Buehler, who won a career-high 16 games in 2021.
Buehler is 0-1 in four regular-season starts against the Cubs, but he has a 2.92 ERA in those outings. He might have a good chance to lower that ERA against a Chicago club that was outscored 13-2 while being swept in Saturday’s split doubleheader.
Losers in 13 of 16 since starting 6-4, the Cubs have been outscored 45-11 during their current 1-7 rut.
The Dodgers, meanwhile, have outscored their opponents 31-7 while going 5-0 in May. This is the second time they’ve won at least five straight games this season.
However, Stroman (1-3, 5.13) finally seems to be pitching like the guy the Cubs gave $71 million over three years to during the offseason.
The right-hander allowed 13 earned runs over 13 1/3 innings while going 0-2 in his first three starts with Chicago, but he is 1-1 with 1.38 ERA in the past two.
His most recent start, Sunday at Milwaukee, was the highlight of his young Cubs career. Stroman allowed two hits and struck out five with a walk over seven innings of that 2-0 victory over the Brewers.
“I feel like I’m getting there. Just making positive strides,” Stroman told the Cubs’ official website. “Definitely getting more comfortable with each and every rep, and getting to a place where I think I can kind of succeed from here on out.”
Stroman has fared well against the Dodgers, going 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA in two career starts. Los Angeles’ Freddie Freeman is 1-for-8 all-time versus Stroman, but after recording four hits over both games on Saturday, is 7-for-18 (.389) in the five games this month.
Teammate Mookie Betts is a .216 hitter against Stroman, but he delivered a three-run double and two-run homer during the Dodgers 6-2 victory in Game 2 of the doubleheader on Saturday.
He’s batting .387 (12-for-31) with three home runs and eight RBIs during an eight-game hitting streak.
Chicago’s Nico Hoerner has never faced Buehler, but he is one of the few Cubs striking the ball by batting .316 during a five-game hitting streak.
It’s uncertain if the Cubs’ Patrick Wisdom will miss time after he exited Saturday’s nightcap with an ankle issue.
–Field Level Media