Dodgers’ Scherzer Schedules NLCS Game 1 to Start Against the Braves | Sports News
By CHARLES ODUM, AP sports writer
ATLANTA (AP) – Max Scherzer is lined up to pitch the Los Angeles Dodgers’ first pitch in the NL Championship Series just two days after delivering the final pitch in their decisive NL Division Series victory.
Unusual? Yes. And yet no one is surprised.
“It’s Scherzer being Scherzer,” said teammate Cody Bellinger.
Scherzer is set to face Braves left-hander Max Fried in Game 1 on Saturday night in an NLCS rematch. The Dodgers beat the Braves in seven games in last year’s NLCS before winning the World Series.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has said he plans to pitch Scherzer even after the NL candidate Cy Young Award got his first career save in a 2-1 win over San Francisco on Thursday night in Game 5 of the NLDS.
As of Friday night, Roberts couldn’t confirm that Scherzer would start permanently.
“He’s going to be playing wrestling and getting treatment and if he says he’s ready to play he’ll be our starter for Game 1,” said Roberts.
Roberts said his backup plan will be a paddock game, with Tony Gonsolin one of the pitchers used.
After Thursday night’s game, Robert said he understood “there could be a cost” to using Scherzer in the closing role as the Dodgers faced a quick turnaround before opening the NLCS.
Whatever that cost, the plan is for Scherzer to start the opening.
“It won’t surprise me,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said Friday before Atlanta’s practice at Truist Park.
Snitker said Scherzer’s 13-length ninth inning was like a holiday session in the bullpen.
“It’s kind of like a side for him there,” Snitker said. “This guy is just a different animal. I mean, he’s a Hall of Fame member and these guys, man, they’re cut from a different fabric than normal guys, so that won’t surprise me at all. if he shows up and is on the mound. “
Scherzer recorded two strikeouts, including a controversial Wilmer Flores failure to end the game. First baseman Gabe Morales ruled that Flores flipped, although TV reruns indicated Flores held on.
Scherzer was 15-4 with a 2.46 ERA for Washington and Los Angeles this season, including 7-0 with a 1.98 ERA in 11 starts for the Dodgers. He pitched 12 1/3 innings in three playoff appearances, allowing two runs and six hits with 16 strikeouts.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said he wondered who would pitch the ninth inning for Los Angeles on Thursday night as he watched the game on television.
“And then they showed Max running and I said, ‘That’s the guy,’” said Freeman. “I don’t think anyone else would want anyone other than Max to be in this game. He’s a bulldog, facing him for years.
Freeman said he never doubted Scherzer would want the ball in the NLCS opener even after the relief appearance.
“He’s going to come back, I bet, tomorrow and pitch against us and he’s going to be Max Scherzer,” Freeman said.
Roberts planned to confirm his rotation plans with Scherzer following the team’s arrival in Atlanta and practice Friday night to “just see where he’s at.” But for now, that’s kind of where we are.
Fried becomes the Atlanta Game 1 starter after Charlie Morton took a short rest in the Braves’ 5-4 win over Milwaukee in the NL Division series on Tuesday night.
Fried joins Morton and Ian Anderson to give Snitker a reliable three-way spin. Snitker plans to have a pen game that could include Huascar Ynoa and Drew Smyly.
When the Braves lost to the Dodgers in last year’s NLCS, Fried was joined by three rookies – Anderson, Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson – in the rotation.
Led by Morton, Fried and Anderson, the Braves recorded two shutouts in the divisional series against Milwaukee. Atlanta limited the Brewers to six points in four games.
“I feel really good with the three guys we’re going to feature,” Snitker said. “I would say it’s a significant difference from a year ago when we started this tournament.”
Bellinger had a single tie-breaker in the ninth and Mookie Betts set a career-high playoff with four hits in the decisive win over the Giants.
The Braves are preparing to do without outfielder Jorge Soler in the series pending his clearance after his positive COVID-19 test.
Dansby Swanson replaced Soler as the first hitter on Tuesday against the Brewers. Snitker said on Friday he was still considering Swanson and other options for his first hitter on Saturday night.
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