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Dodgers hope to have Max Scherzer pitch Game 7 of NLCS

After muscle fatigue, how long Scherzer might pitch remains to be seen, should the series in Game 7.

Championship Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Atlanta Braves - Game Two Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Max Scherzer was scratched from his Game 6 start Saturday for what he described as muscle fatigue, though the Dodgers hope to have him start in Game 7 of the NLCS against the Braves on Sunday, if the series lasts that long.

Scherzer last pitched in Game 2 of the NLCS last Sunday, in which he only lasted 4⅓ innings, allowing two runs. After the game he said his arm was tired, something that didn’t really improve throughout the week. The decision was made on Friday to have Walker Buehler start Game 6 on short rest instead of Scherzer.

“We just felt it was best to give him an extra day,” manager Dave Roberts told reporters in Atlanta. “We just felt that this gives us the best chance to win today, and tomorrow.”

Roberts said he was very confident Scherzer would be able to pitch in Game 7.

“What he will be able to give us and how long, I don’t know the answer,” Roberts said.

Scherzer met with reporters in the dugout at Truist Park in Atlanta on Saturday.

That Scherzer’s last start was Game 2 of the NLCS instead of Game 1 was a direct result of him being used to close out the final inning of Game 5 of the NLDS against the Giants. That pushed him back a day, hoping the extra rest would have him at his best.

“We knew going into this if we used him tonight, there might be a cost,” Roberts said after the NLDS Game 5 win in San Francisco.

The gambit earned Scherzer his first career save, but it was not his first career postseason relief appearance, having also done so in 2011 and 2013 with the Tigers, and 2017 and 2019 with the Nationals.

“This is a decision that we all kind of came together and we felt good about it,” Roberts said Saturday. “Could I foresee where we’re at right now? No, but you still have to make the decision that gets us to this point.”

Scherzer said Saturday he doesn’t regret the relief appearance.

“He’s pitched through some things over the last seven, eight years that I’ve seen him,” Trea Turner, who also played with Scherzer in Washington, told reporters in Atlanta on Saturday. “He knows when his body’s available to go or not. If he could, he would definitely be out there.”