Potential pitcher’s duel in the series finale
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If a pitching duel breaks out in any of the three games down in Miami, there is a good chance it will be the series finale. The Dodgers will send Walker Buehler out against the Marlins and Miami will counter with southpaw Caleb Smith. Smith was a big surprise in the first half as he pitched to a 3.50 ERA and held the opposition to a .201 average against.
Since the All-Star break, Caleb Smith has regressed a bit pitching to a 4.15 ERA in six starts although he has still held the opposition to a very respectable .233 average. The big difference so far in the second half has been walks. After Caleb walked just 21 batters in 13 starts in the first half, he already has 15 walks in just six starts in the second half.
Walker Buehler is trending in the opposite direction as he has been lights out since the All-Star break. Buehler pitched seven shutout innings against the Marlins in July and in the second half, he has a 1.89 ERA in five starts. This is great news after a subpar first half per his standards which included a rushed version of spring training.
Buehler’s best pitch this season has been his slider. Walker Buehler’s slider has a wOBA of .218 and has clearly been his best pitch this season. Last year the curveball was very effective but this season it has been the slider that is working well for the young Walker Buehler. After throwing a couple of complete games this season, Buehler will look to notch another one in a very nice matchup.