Buehler gets the start for Dodgers in Game 6 of NLCS

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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ATLANTA- The Los Angeles Dodgers tapped Walker Buehler to start Game 6 of the NL Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves on Saturday night after scratching Max Scherzer.

The right-handed Buehler was coming back on just three days’ rest, with the 106-win Dodgers in a must-win situation. The Braves led the best-of-seven series 3-2.

With a full week of rest, Buehler was roughed up by the Braves in his Game 3 start on Tuesday, giving up four runs (two earned) and six hits in just 3 2/3 innings. The Dodgers rallied for a 6-5 victory.

Buehler also pitched on short rest in Game 4 of the NL Division Series, going 4 1/3 innings against the San Francisco Giants. He gave up one run and three hits.

In three starts during this postseason, Buehler was 0-1 with a 3.77 ERA in 14 1/3 innings. In the regular season, he was one of the NL’s top pitchers with 16-4 record and a 2.47 ERA.

Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner acquired by the Dodgers from Washington just before the trade deadline, complained of a dead arm after starting Game 2 of the NLCS on just two days’ rest after a 13-pitch save in the clincher of the Division Series.

The Dodgers did not immediately say why he was scrubbed from his scheduled start, but his right arm had clearly not recovered from his 4 1/3-inning stint last Sunday.

The 37-year-old threw 79 pitches, gave up four hits and two runs, and struck out seven. He did not get a decision in Atlanta’s 5-4 win.

With Scherzer out, the Dodgers had few other options other than going back to Buehler, who was initially set to pitch Game 7 if the series made it that far.

Julio Urias started Game 4 on Wednesday, and Clayton Kershaw is out with an injury. The Dodgers already went with a bullpen approach in Game 5, losing reliever Joe Kelly to a postseason-ending injury in the process.

The Dodgers activated David Price, but his last start was Aug. 22 and he hasn’t pitched at all in the postseason. Tony Gonsolin made 13 starts during the regular season but he’s been used exclusively in relief during the playoffs.

Cody Bellinger, Cubs reportedly agree to $17.5M, 1-year deal

cody bellinger
Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports
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Former National League MVP Cody Bellinger and the Chicago Cubs have agreed to a $17.5 million, one-year contract, a person familiar with the negotiations tells The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the agreement was subject to a successful physical.

Bellinger, the 2019 NL MVP, was cut by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Nov. 18 after the 27-year-old outfielder hit .210 with 19 homers, 150 strikeouts and a .654 OPS in 144 games.

He had a $17 million contract this season and likely would have received a slight raise in arbitration.

Bellinger was limited to 95 games during the 2021 regular season when he was on the injured list three times and batted .165. He hit .353 in 12 games in that postseason and had the go-ahead RBI single in Game 5 of the NL Division Series against the rival San Francisco Giants. Bellinger also had a tying, three-run homer against Atlanta in Game 3 of the NL Championship Series.

In 2020, Bellinger hit .239 with 12 home runs in 56 games during the pandemic-shortened season. He homered three times in the NLCS, and the Dodgers beat the Braves to reach the World Series. They went on to defeat Tampa Bay in six games to win the franchise’s first title since 1988.

Bellinger has battled injuries since his MVP season, including having surgery on his right shoulder in November 2020.

Before his precipitous drop-off, Bellinger was the 2017 NL Rookie of the Year and 2018 NLCS MVP. He made two All-Star teams, and won a Gold Glove in 2019.