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Dodgers won’t have Max Scherzer in must-win Game 6 at Atlanta

David Price replacing Joe Kelly on Los Angeles roster

Atlanta watched as the Dodgers won NLCS Game 5 for the second straight year on Thursday night, cutting into its series deficit and sending the series back to Truist Park in Georgia.Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Atlanta knows what happened last October and wants to avoid a repeat. The Dodgers plan on an encore, though they’ll have to do it without Max Scherzer on Saturday.

Atlanta held 2-0 and 3-1 leads in the NL Championship Series before the Dodgers won three consecutive games in a playoff entirely at the neutral ballpark of Arlington, Texas, then beat Tampa Bay for their first World Series title since 1988.

Atlanta again won the first two games of the NLCS this year, then Los Angeles took two of three at Dodger Stadium to force a Game 6 back at Truist Park on Saturday night with the Braves still one win from their first Series trip since 1999.


“I think we’ve got a mental advantage right now, getting back on that plane and going back there playing Game 6,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Friday. “History’s a powerful thing to the mind, and so we feel good and I think that we’re going to use it to our advantage.”

Even so, Roberts acknowledged “at the end of the day we still got to go out there and play a good baseball game.”

Facing elimination, the Dodgers turned up their power game to beat Atlanta, 11-2, Thursday night. They had planned to start Scherzer in Game 6, but the Los Angeles Times reported the midseason acquisition is experiencing general arm fatigue. The report said he could potentially pitch in a Game 7.

Atlanta plans to start Ian Anderson.

Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman says his team must prove they won’t follow the same path to another collapse.

“It seems because every day it’s brought up the last couple days,” Freeman said of last year’s collapse. “So I don’t think we have a choice until we kill that narrative. We’re up, 3-2, and we’re going home. That’s a great position to be in.”


Los Angeles has won seven consecutive elimination games. Chris Taylor hit three homers and drove in six runs on Thursday night. AJ Pollock added two homers and drove in four runs as the Dodgers set a franchise postseason record with 17 hits.

Taylor became the 11th player to hit three homers in a postseason game and the first to accomplish the feat with his team facing elimination.

“I think for us it’s always just been about winning one game and we try to keep that mentality all year, do everything we can to win tonight, and just sort of take it one day at a time,” Taylor said.

Anderson said Thursday that the Braves are “definitely on a mission to kind of dispel” the repeat of their 2020 NLCS loss.

“So, yeah, I mean, we’re still in a good spot,” Anderson said. “The vibes are still good.”

Anderson lasted only three innings in Atlanta’s 5-4 win in Game 2. Scherzer was pulled after 4⅓ innings with what he said was a dead arm on two days’ rest after getting his first career save in the Division Series finale at San Francisco.

Roberts said 36-year-old lefthander David Price is replacing lefthander Joe Kelly on the roster. Kelly left in the first inning Thursday night with tightness in his right biceps and won’t be eligible to return in the World Series should the Dodgers advance.

Price, the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner, was 5-2 with a 4.03 ERA in 11 starts and 28 relief appearances in the regular season. He has a 4.62 ERA in 23 postseason games with Tampa Bay, Detroit, Toronto, and the Red Sox.


Roberts also revealed Friday that lefthander Justin Bruihl wasn’t available in Game 5 due to a sore arm and may be replaced. Bruihl was receiving treatment on Friday before attempting to throw. He experienced the soreness while warming up on Thursday night.

Roberts said Bruihl “wanted to be out there but just his arm wouldn’t let him. We are going to bring an arm just in case he can’t go.”

Roberts said he has not decided on a possible replacement for Bruihl.