Not many pitchers would nitpick after throwing six shutout innings, but Los Angeles Dodgers' right-hander Walker Buehler is one of them. Buehler, who is 2-1 with a 1.89 ERA in five starts since the All-Star break, takes the ball Thursday afternoon and hopes to do better when Los Angeles tries for an emphatic season series sweep against the host Miami Marlins.
"Not as clean, not as efficient as I like," Buehler told reporters after striking out eight - five with runners in scoring position - in the Dodgers' 3-2 loss in 11 innings to Arizona on Friday. "I got lucky and made good pitches and got good defense and got away with it. I wasn't commanding it as well as I'd like to." Left-hander Caleb Smith takes the ball for Miami (44-75), which has lost 12 of its last 15 games after Wednesday's 9-1 setback. Los Angeles (81-41), which has won all five meetings this season by a combined 45-9, leads Arizona by 19 1/2 games in the National League West and shares the best record in baseball with the New York Yankees. Dodgers rookie Edwin Rios was 6-for-22 over his first 13 major league games before going 3-for-4 on Wednesday, including his first two home runs.
TV: 3:05 p.m. ET, MLB Network; SportsNet LA, FS Florida
PITCHING MATCHUP: Dodgers RH Walker Buehler (10-2, 3.08 ERA) vs. Marlins LH Caleb Smith (7-6, 3.71)
Buehler, who allowed four hits and three walks versus the Diamondbacks, has recorded five quality starts in his last six outings. The 25-year-old Kentucky native boasts a 1.00 WHIP and .221 batting average against with 160 strikeouts against 23 walks in 137 1/3 innings this season. Miami's Brian Anderson and Starlin Castro are a combined 6-for-17 against Buehler, who is 1-0 with a 2.12 ERA in three starts against the Marlins after striking out 11 in seven innings of a 9-0 victory at Dodger Stadium on July 21.
Smith lost his second straight start after yielding six runs and 10 hits (two home runs) in 4 2/3 innings of an 8-4 loss to Atlanta on Friday. The 28-year-old Texan was 4-0 with a 3.48 ERA in five outings prior to the mini-slide, and features a 1.11 WHIP and .211 batting average against. Smith lost in his only appearance versus Los Angeles, permitting four runs, two hits and four walks in three innings last season.
1. Los Angeles' starting rotation is 8-1 with a 1.69 ERA and 85 strikeouts over 74 2/3 innings in August.
2. Dodgers 3B Justin Turner has homered in three straight games - hitting four total - and is 6-for-11 with six RBIs and four runs scored during that span.
3. Los Angeles is 20-6 versus the NL East, winning 14 of its last 17 such games.