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NLCS Game 2 GameThread: Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves

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Max Scherzer is on the mound tonight in Game 2 of the NLCS, starting for the Dodgers against Braves’ righty Ian Anderson. GAME TIME: 7:38 PM ET in Atlanta.

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

Max Scherzer closed out Game 5 of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ NLDS matchup with the San Francisco Giants this past Thursday, after pitching in the Wild Card game and Game 3.

The veteran right-hander talked about coming back to start last night’s series opener with LA in Atlanta, GA’s Truist Park, but the Dodgers decided to go with a bullpen day instead.

“It was something that we knew going in to use him in that game, obviously a leverage spot, there might be a cost,” manager Dave Roberts said of the relief appearance for Scherzer.

“And just kind of talked to him yesterday. Was a little kind of arm tired, and so just thinking through it, just giving him the best opportunity to have success in a start, which ultimately is going to be Game 2. I think in 2019 he pitched in relief, I think it was against us, and then two days later made a start, but that’s different than one day.

“So I think that we were prepared for whatever cost it was and so we’ll start Max Game 2.”

“Yeah, just kind of walked through kind of everything,” Scherzer explained. “Yeah, I mean, yeah, my arm was tired. You close that game, I would expect my arm to be tired.

“The bigger question was, how was it going to be to bounce back for today? I have zero experience of trying to pitch on one day of rest, like relieving and come back. I do have experience of pitching on two days. In the 2019 run when I did pitch against the Dodgers, like I relieved Game 2, and then started Game 4. And even in Game 4, that start, I think I went to a hundred pitches and that was a very taxing start in and of itself.”

“So, I knew that if I was going to pitch today,” the three-time Cy Young winner added, “I was going to be limited in some form or capacity, that it was going to be somewhere in the pitch count between, call it, 60 to 90. I have no clue. So that’s, when we just talked that what made most sense is just go pitch Game 2 and then you’re on a full slate and we know how to navigate games when I’m at full capacity.”

Ian Anderson, 23, posted a 0.96 ERA in four games and 18 23 innings pitched in the playoffs last season, and he tossed five scoreless against the Milwaukee Brewers in his Game 3 start in the NLDS this year, leaving him with a 0.76 ERA and a .165/.260/.200 line against in 23 23 IP so far in his postseason career.

Tonight he’s going up against Max Scherzer and the Dodgers in Game 2 of the NLCS, after he faced LA twice in the Championship Series last season. He made one starts against the defending World Series champions this season as well (4 13 IP, 1 H, 3 BB, 4 ER). Will all that history help him tonight?

“Yeah, I’m definitely excited to get the ball tomorrow and pitch deep into the game and give the team a good chance to win,” Anderson said when he spoke before the series opener last night.

“The experience of last year and going up against the same opponent is going to be huge for us, I think.

“Obviously the situation is lot different. Both teams are quite a bit different. The stadiums are a lot different, so we’re going to have to figure that aspect of it out, but last year will definitely help.”

And when he looks at the Dodgers’ lineup this year, what stands out?

“Man, I think it’s just the quality from top to bottom,” Anderson said. “The at-bats that they put up, they’re one of the few teams that don’t give away any at-bats, even in the big leagues, and it’s tough. You have to make your pitches, 1 through 8, 1 through 9 even. You got to stay on the attack and make your pitches or they’re going to make you pay. The last thing you want to do is give them free bases and extra outs and that’s going to be the big key.”

Will the Braves take a 2-0 lead? Will the Dodgers even things up before they head out to Los Angeles for Game 3 on Tuesday? Enjoy your NLCS baseball...