Certainly, this was not the way it was drawn up for Dave Roberts and the Dodgers, but in a season of struggles and curveballs, it is what it is. Scheduled game 6 starter Max Scherzer was scratched while still dealing with “general soreness” after a heavy workload this postseason.
Particularly heavy for a 37-year-old hurler.
In his place, Walker Buehler pitches again on short rest with the season on the line for LA. Before the game, manager Dave Roberts shared his thoughts on Buetane getting the ball for the win or go home game.
“We feel really good about him. Most importantly, Walker feels really good. I don’t want to put a number on what it’s going to be like. It’s about execution, performance. But as far as physical, mental, he feels fantastic.”
Buehler hasn’t been as sharp as Dodgers fans are used to this postseason. Entering October with a career 2.35 ERA over 11 starts, the right-hander has put together a 3.77 ERA over his 3 starts (6 ER, 14.1 IP) this year.
“This is something that he’s only done [once] in his career, so that’s an obvious challenge and an unknown,” Roberts added. “But as far as his body, mind, I feel very confident. … Even Max said it: ‘Walker was in a much better position to make this start today than I was.’ So he’s aware of that.”
Thankfully, the Dodgers have history on their side tonight in Atlanta. They overcame a 3-1 deficit to these Braves a year ago. And the club enters the game with a 7 game winning streak in elimination games.
The LA pitching staff has shouldered the load of an inconsistent offense all year long. Ideally, as they did on Thursday, the bats will show up and break out in a big way in support of big game Buehler.