As if the Dodgers already didn’t have enough injuries to worry with, late Friday night veteran starting pitcher Max Scherzer was scratched from tonight’s Game 6 NLCS start and replaced by Walker Buehler.
Max Scherzer won’t start Game 6 of the NLCS because of arm fatigue, putting the Dodgers in a bind https://t.co/3Fe2Si7acn
— Post Sports (@PostSports) October 23, 2021
The 37-year-old Scherzer started last Sunday in Game 2 of this current series, and though he certainly wasn’t at his best, the righty still managed to strike out seven in 4.1 innings. Following that outing, Scherzer complained of a “dead arm”, and given he only totaled 79 pitches in that contest, there was a chance that he may need more rest than usual. Now, nearly a week later, the former Cy Young pitcher still isn’t 100%, so LA will lean on someone else.
The 27-year-old Buehler presents a much more favorable matchup. Even though the Braves lost Tuesday’s Game 3, Buehler only managed to last 3.2 innings as the Atlanta offense chased him to the tune of four runs (two earned) from six hits. Going deep into games has been a problem for the young LA righty as of late — he only lasted 4.2 innings in the Dodgers win over the Giants in Game 4 of the NLDS. Although, with the Dodgers again facing elimination, how far Buehler lasts tonight is much less important. Given the team has had a day to rest, it’s likely manager Dave Roberts keeps a short leash on his starter, and — as he’s done during this entire series — depends heavily on the bullpen to try and take advantage of matchups. LA also replaced Joe Kelly on the roster with David Price, so there’s another potential option in the Dodger bullpen tonight.
The Braves are still going with Ian Anderson on Saturday, who’s also coming off a bit of struggling performance. The 22-year-old righty only made it three innings in his Game 2 start this past Monday, but because he managed to limit the damage during that outing (two earned runs), the Atlanta offense was able to once again come away with the win. Anderson will also be operating with a rather short least, though if he’s pitching well from the start, I expect manager Brian Snitker will trust him with at least 3-4 innings.
Dropping Thursday’s game was unfortunate, but tonight, in front of its home crowd, the Braves have a chance to clinch a World Series bid for first time since 1999. With the Astros beating the Red Sox last night, the AL opponent is set. All Atlanta has to do is win one of these next two games. Hopefully that win comes tonight!