Braves “@” Dodgers NLCS Game 6: Fried vs. Buehler to survive again

Struggling with a blister on his right hand (that I can’t wait to get a few more close-ups of today) since late August, Walker Buehler landed on the IL twice during this shortened season. The problem limited him to just 36 2/3 IP across eight starts during the regular season.

Entering Saturday afternoon’s elimination game, Buehler is at 13 IP in his 3 postseason appearances. While he’s labored through many of those innings, walking 11 batters total in these playoffs, Buehler has continued his run of striking out at least seven batters in all nine of the postseason starts in his career so far.

Buehler picked up his curve usage in September and carried it into October, even with that small dip against the Padres.

The usage is near the highest of his career, save for his eight games in 2017 when he was throwing his fastball and curve a combined 89% of the time.

It also matches the same increase from last October’s 12 2/3 innings against the Nationals.

While it is at a 50% Whiff rate this season, on a sample of just 96 pitches, Buehler’s curve was responsible for three homers in six plate appearances to right-handed batters. Meanwhile, lefties went just 2-for-14, the hits being a single and a double, with seven strikeouts. In Game 1, Marcell Ozuna grounded out and lined out against the curve while Ozzie Albies grounded out and singled while also getting strikeouts against Dansby Swanson and Nick Markakis.

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Image Image
1:38 p.m. Arlington
RF Acuna RF Betts
1B Freeman (L) SS Seager (L)
DH Ozuna 3B Turner
C d’Arnaud 1B Muncy (L)
2B Albies (S) DH Smith
SS Swanson CF Bellinger (L)
3B Riley LF Pollock
LF Markakis (L) 2B Hernandez
CF Pache C Barnes
P Fried (L) P Buehler (R)

While Clayton Kershaw is not on the mound, Austin Barnes is catching the day game following last night and Will Smith will be the DH.

The Dodgers managed four hits and one run off of Fried in six innings, also striking out nine times. The man responsible for the one run, Enrique Hernandez, is back in the lineup after he homered on an 0-2 pitch off of Fried in Game 1.

All of that is also likely in part to Chris Taylor being out of the lineup, though he should be available if needed today.

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I was going to take a look at how the Dodgers had been hitting left-handed pitching, but Eric Stephen did it already and much more detailed than I would have, so take a look at that here:

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However, here’s a look at the Dodgers’ pitching staff through five games in this series. Tony Gonsolin is reportedly available only as a last resort as the Dodgers plan to start him in Game 7 should there be one.

Game 1,
Oct.12
Game 2,
Oct. 13
Game 3,
Oct. 14
Game 4,
Oct. 15
Game 5,
Oct. 16
Baez1/3 IP, 211 IP, 131 IP, 14
Buehler5 IP, 100
Floro2/3 IP, 161 2/3 IP, 35
Gonsolin4 1/3 IP, 88
Gonzalez1/3 IP, 42/3 IP, 221 IP, 17
Graterol1 IP, 61/3 IP, 131 IP, 11
Jansen1 IP, 101 IP, 12
Kelly1/3 IP, 41 IP, 14
Kershaw5 IP, 87
Kolarek1 IP, 281 IP, 17
May1 2/3 IP, 212 IP, 55
McGee2/3 IP, 112/3 IP, 81/3 IP, 18
Treinen1/3 IP, 202 IP, 19
Urias5 IP, 101
Wood1 2/3 IP, 401 IP, 29

The bullpen has had plenty of issues in this series, but the combination of Joe Kelly, Blake Treinen, Pedro Baez, Victor Gonzalez, Brusdar Graterol and Kenley Jansen combined for seven strikeouts across seven innings with just one run allowed.

I can’t wait to see how Dave Roberts manages this tonight. Obviously Buehler giving the Dodgers six innings rather than the four or five he’s done so far in the postseason would be a start, but with Gonzalez and Graterol already pitching the past two games there may be a point in which there’s no great option tonight.

McGee giving the Dodgers a clean inning and maybe Treinen coming back after just 19 pitches yesterday seems like a start.

As for Jansen’s rebound last night, he spoke a bit about it this morning.

Daniel took a quick look at it below.

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After the quotes from Alex Wood, this is something at least.

First pitch is set for 1:38 p.m. PT on FS1,.

About Cody Bashore

Cody Bashore
Cody Bashore is a lifelong Dodger fan originally from Carpinteria, California (about 80 miles north of Dodger Stadium along the coast). He left California to attend Northern Arizona University in 2011, and has lived in Arizona full-time since he graduated in 2014 with a journalism degree. He now works for the university’s athletics department after spending seven years with the local newspaper.