Dodgers @ Braves NLCS Game 6: Buehler on short rest vs. Anderson; Scherzer tomorrow?

After a Game 5 blowout win, the table was set for the Dodgers to make another miraculous 3-1 comeback against the Braves for a second consecutive year. Then, Jorge Castillo of the LA Times tweeted this last night:

So, instead of having Max Scherzer in Game 6 and Walke Buehler lined up for a potential Game 7 — both on full rest — Scherzer isn’t starting and Buehler is starting on short rest for the second time in nine days. What could possibly go wrong?

The Dodgers are in a tough position. They have to win two games, but to win two games, they have to win one. The options, seemingly, were to start Buehler on short rest, follow up a true bullpen game with another true bullpen game or start someone like David Price or Tony Gonsolin or use them as the bulk guy in a bullpen game.

All those options are far from ideal. While I, jokingly, have mentioned Bobby Miller a couple times, that wasn’t going to happen even if he hadn’t pitched on Thursday in the Arizona Fall League (same for Landon Knack).

I would have gone with a bullpen/bulk game today and have Buehler on full rest for a potential clincher. But with the Dodgers moving Buehler up, they must be confident Scherzer will start tomorrow or they’re going to go with a bullpen game in a potential Game 7. The other option is to have Julio Urias start or be the bulk guy on three days rest and hope Scherzer is good to go in a potential Game 1 of the World Series (which all seems highly unlikely at this point).

Scherzer, at least, said he feels he should be go to go in Atlanta tomorrow if the Dodgers win tonight.

In his last start on short rest against the Giants in the NLDS, Buehler lasted 4 1/3 innings (71 pitches) and allowed three hits, one run, issued two walks and struck out four. Not a bad outing by any means and probably about as good as we could expect for a guy starting on short rest. On regular rest in Game 3 in this series, he went just 3 2/3 innings and allowed six hits, four runs (two earned), issued three walks and struck out three. He’ll need to be better than that today if the Dodgers want to see a Game 7.

Lineups

The Dodgers are going with generally the same lineup against righties as they have this series, except they’re opting for defense over offense. Cody Bellinger starts in center field, while Matt Beaty starts at first base. That means Gavin Lux is on the bench. He had the drop of Austin Riley‘s fly ball in Game 3 that led to Atlanta’s 4-run inning and, ultimately, played a big part in Buehler not getting out of the fourth inning.

Notes

Joe Kelly is out for the remainder of the postseason with a bicep injury. Price officially has taken his place.

He was nails in the 2018 World Series, so why the hell not? And no, this wasn’t some conspiracy to get Price onto the roster in place of Kelly (who is now ineligible to appear in the World Series, should the Dodgers get there).

There had been concern that Justin Bruihl was going to need to be replaced on the roster, too. But that concern has, seemingly, been alleviated.

At this rate, they’re going to need him for an inning.

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And as Buehler gets set to throw on short rest, let’s look back when the Dodgers leaned (too) heavily on Clayton Kershaw to do the same.

This doesn’t really have anything to do with anything, I just like things that help weaken the Kershaw postseason bullshit narrative.

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Here’s my final piece of hard-hitting analysis: If the Dodgers don’t hit — and they’re the only team to ever score off Ian Anderson in the postseason — then it doesn’t matter who’s pitching.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.