After winning 12 straight games in a row, the Los Angeles Dodgers finally had a clunker, losing 4-0 to the Kansas City Royals.
Now the Dodgers turn their sights on the Milwaukee Brewers, heading to American Family Field for a four game set against the Brew Crew.
The Brewers sit at 61-52, second in the NL Central. They have the second lowest positive run differential in the national league, at +35.
But the big news before the series opener is that the Dodgers are going to be without Walker Buehler for the foreseeable future. On Monday, the team announced that Buehler would be undergoing elbow surgery on Aug 23rd, with Dr Neil ElAttrache.
Buehler has been on the 15-day IL since June 11, dealing with a right flexor tendon strain. He then decided to have surgery to remove bone spurs, as his recovery was expected to take awhile. That surgery was not expected to be a detriment to his overall return timetable.
Buehler has started a throwing program last month, and the Dodgers were cautiously optimistic about Buehler’s return to the rotation before the postseason. But the righty had been having discomfort in his most recent throwing sessions, and Dr ElAttrache could not find any conclusions from Buehler’s MRI. The doctor recommended surgery, and they will know more after the procedure.
Walker has already had Tommy John surgery once in his career, shortly after he was selected as the 24th pick in the 2015 amateur draft.
As such, the timing couldn’t be better for Dustin May’s return to the starting rotation. May had been rehabilitating from his own Tommy John surgery, which occurred in the spring of the 2021 season.
On Monday, the Dodgers announced that May will make his first start of the 2022 season on Saturday against the Miami Marlins at home at Dodger Stadium.
In his last rehab start on Sunday with Triple-A Oklahoma City, May went 5.0 innings, allowing one run, walking one, and striking out 10. In the whole of his five rehab starts, May posted a 1.89 ERA with 33 strikeouts over 19 innings.
As May is not replacing Buehler in the rotation, the current rotation can keep its regular schedule, with May sliding into the spot currently being her by Ryan Pepiot.
An early look at the possible postseason rotation would see Julio Urías, Tony Gonsolin, Tyler Anderson, May, and Clayton Kershaw if he is back in time. Time will tell who exactly would be the top three, and who if anyone could piggyback, or possibly move to the bullpen like Urías did in 2020.
Blake Treinen is also nearing his return to the bullpen. In his most recent rehab outing, also for Oklahoma City, he pitched a scoreless inning. His sinker was averaging 95.7 mph, topping out at 97.4 mph. It will be interesting to watch it Craig Kimbrel keeps his closer roll once Treinen returns, and if Kimbrel keeps flailing. The whole pitching situation will be something to keep an eye on over the next fews weeks of the season.