Max Scherzer and Charlie Morton NLCS starts get pushed back

ATLANTA — The buzzwords Saturday for both managers in this NLCS, as they explained the reasoning behind their rotation alignments, were “extra rest.”

Max Scherzer had been the expected Game 1 starter for the Dodgers, but the ace right-hander was pushed back a day because of fatigue from his relief appearance Thursday, according to manager Dave Roberts.

Meanwhile, Braves postseason horse Charlie Morton was pushed back from Sunday to Game 3, which is scheduled for Tuesday in Los Angeles. Morton would have been pitching on full rest Sunday, but manager Brian Snitker opted for Ian Anderson.

The Dodgers sent Corey Knebel to the mound as the opener on Saturday — a role he filled in Game 5 of the NLDS against the Giants. In that game, Scherzer pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the save.

Max Scherzer and Charlie Morton
Max Scherzer and Charlie Morton

“It was something that we knew going in to use [Scherzer] in that game, obviously a leverage spot, there might be a cost,” Roberts said before the Dodgers’ 3-2 Game 1 loss. “And just kind of talked to him [Friday]. He 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.”

Walker Buehler is the Dodgers’ scheduled starter for Game 3 and Julio Urias is slated for Game 4.

Anderson proved he’s capable on a big stage last October, when he pitched to a 2.57 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers in the NLCS, in the playoff bubble in Arlington, Texas. In front of a full house at Truist Park last week, he fired five scoreless innings in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Brewers.

“I’ve kind of been preparing all year for this,” Anderson said. “Making my first start back in April at home in front of fans was a good way to get it going. When I was making that start I was kind of thinking ahead to what this could be like. So to be here now it will be fun to experience it.

“But I think you got to look at the team that they put out there behind me. The amount of confidence you get from the guys behind you, the defense behind you that have now experienced it for four years, and the catching with Travis [d’Arnaud] back there, it just gives you so much confidence.”