For the second time in two weeks, Walker Buehler will start on short rest with the Dodgers’ season on the line.
With Max Scherzer unable to pitch in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series as originally expected because of arm fatigue concerns, the Dodgers announced it will be Buehler taking the mound Saturday night, when the team will try to stave off elimination for a fifth time this postseason and push their series with the Atlanta Braves to a seventh game.
Like he did in Game 4 of the NLDS, Buehler will be pitching on only three days’ rest, after giving up four runs (two earned) and throwing 76 pitches in a 3 2/3-inning outing against the Braves in Tuesday’s Game 3.
Before this postseason, Buehler had never pitched on short rest in his MLB career. But with the Dodgers facing elimination against the San Francisco Giants last week, he took the mound on three days’ rest and gave up just one run in 4 1/3 innings, helping get that series to a decisive fifth game.
Short on other appealing options, the Dodgers will be hoping Buehler — who had a 2.47 ERA in the regular season and has a 2.62 ERA in his postseason career — can do something similar Saturday.
The team decided not to go with a straight bullpen game for the second-consecutive game, a task that would have been further complicated by Joe Kelly’s injury and Justin Bruihl’s questionable status.
They decided not to save Buehler for a potential Game 7, either — which is when the right-hander was originally expected to pitch before Scherzer’s status changed.
Instead, it will be up to Buehler in Game 6 to try to help the Dodgers extend their season at least one more day, and keep their hopes alive of repeating as World Series champions.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.