LOS ANGELES (AP) — Walker Buehler was set to start Tuesday night on three days’ rest for the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 4 of their NL Division Series against the San Francisco Giants.
Buehler was opposed by right-hander Anthony DeSclafani, making his first appearance this postseason. DeSclafani had a 3.17 ERA in 31 starts of the best season of his seven-year career.
“He’s done a really nice job and he’s prepared for this, he wants it,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said after Game 3. “He’s ready and he’s the right choice for us.”
DeSclafani struggled against the Dodgers during the regular season with a 7.33 ERA in six starts.
The Giants lead the best-of-five series, 2-1, and could eliminate the defending World Series champions with a victory at Dodger Stadium. Game 5 would be Thursday in San Francisco, if needed.
Buehler pitched into the sixth inning Friday, throwing 99 pitches in a 4-0 loss to the Giants in Game 1. The right-hander allowed three runs and six hits. The two-time All-Star struck out five and walked one on the road in losing his first postseason game since 2017.
He went to manager Dave Roberts after the Dodgers won 9-2 in Game 2 and volunteered to pitch on short rest for the first time in his career.
“We were late in kind of deciding because we wanted to make sure he woke up today feeling good,” Roberts said. “How long he can go, that’ll be dictated on how he’s throwing the baseball and how he feels. He just has a way of controlling his heartbeat and making pitches."
Buehler sought out teammates Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer, who have experience pitching on short rest, Roberts said. Buehler has made relief appearances on three days' rest before.
Buehler recorded career highs in innings pitched (207 2/3), wins (16), starts (33) and posted his second straight 200-plus strikeout season.
“He's one of the best playoff pitchers I've ever seen,” right-hander Blake Treinen said. “This is his moment to shine. He did it last year for us when our backs were against the wall. He was our stopper.”
In his career, Buehler is 7-1 with a 2.55 ERA in 13 regular-season games against the Giants, including 11 starts. He had one of his worst starts of the season in his outing against the Giants on Sept. 5 at Oracle Park, giving up six runs in three innings of a 6-4 loss — the first of his career to San Francisco.
“He's been roughed up before, like all pitchers have,” Roberts said. “That why aces are aces. They don't run from fights.”
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