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Dodgers' Walker Buehler to Start NLCS Game 6 vs. Braves on Short Rest

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVOctober 23, 2021

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

The Los Angeles Dodgers announced that ace Walker Buehler will start on short rest in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves on Saturday.

Max Scherzer was originally supposed to start the game on normal rest, but he will not take the mound reportedly because of concerns about arm fatigue, per ESPN's Alden Gonzalez.

Buehler will start on short rest for just the second time in his career. He last started L.A.'s Game 3 win over Atlanta on Tuesday.

The Dodgers trail the NLCS 3-2, meaning a loss to Atlanta on Saturday will send the Braves to the World Series against the Houston Astros.

While the Dodgers won Game 3 thanks to a three-run home run by Cody Bellinger followed by an RBI double by Mookie Betts in the eighth inning, Buehler wasn't at his best.

He lasted just 3.2 innings, allowing six hits, three walks and two earned runs, while striking out only three.

It was an uncharacteristic outing for 27-year-old righty, who was named an All-Star for the second time in his career this season after going 16-4 with a 2.47 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 212 strikeouts over 207.2 innings.

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Buehler hasn't been as effective in three postseason appearances, going 0-1 with a 3.77 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 14.1 innings.

Still, Buehler is undoubtedly the Dodgers' best option with Scherzer unable to pitch, even on short rest.

Had manager Dave Roberts not chosen to go with Buehler for Game 6, it likely would have been a bullpen game for the Dodgers, which would not have been ideal given that they just had a bullpen game in Game 5.

The Braves are countering with Ian Anderson, who has experienced no shortage of playoff success during his young career.

In six career playoff starts dating back to last season, Anderson is 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 32 strikeouts over 26.2 innings.

Anderson did have a rare poor postseason start in Game 2 against the Dodgers, however, allowing three hits, three walks and two earned runs in three innings.

If the Braves are able to win Saturday's Game 6 at home they will clinch their first World Series berth since 1999. Otherwise, the teams will clash in a win-or-go-home Game 7 on Sunday. 

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