Max Scherzer will not make his scheduled start in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, sources told ESPN, confirming news first reported by the Los Angeles Times.
Scherzer’s replacement for Saturday night at Truist Park is not yet known, but there is no logical choice to face the Atlanta Braves and right-hander Ian Anderson.
Walker Buehler taking the ball would require him starting on short rest for the second time in his career, after previously doing so in Game 4 of the NL Division Series against the San Francisco Giants. Anything outside of Buehler would essentially morph into a bullpen game, made more difficult because the Dodgers also staged a bullpen game in Thursday’s Game 5.
The reason for Scherzer’s absence is not known, but the 37-year-old right-hander complained of a tired arm after Game 2 on Sunday, a start that occurred three days after he was required in the ninth inning of the deciding game in the prior round.
“I would just say my arm was dead,” Scherzer, a free agent at season’s end, said after that start. “I could tell when I was warming up that it was still tired.”
The Dodgers have already lost third baseman Justin Turner (hamstring) and late-inning reliever Joe Kelly (bicep) in this series. They are also without first baseman Max Muncy (elbow) and longtime ace Clayton Kershaw (forearm), both of whom suffered injuries during the final weekend of the regular season.
The Dodgers entered the postseason with a three-man starting rotation consisting of only Scherzer, Buehler and Julio Urias, the latter of whom struggled in his Game 4 start on Wednesday — his third appearance in a span of six days.
Earlier Friday, the Dodgers added former Cy Young Award winner David Price to the NLCS roster, but Price hasn’t appeared in a game since Oct. 2 and hasn’t completed more than two innings since the end of August. The Dodgers also have Tony Gonsolin, who has allowed five runs in four innings over the course of three appearances in this series.