LEADING OFF: LA hopes to maximize Scherzer with extra rest

MLB Baseball

A look at what’s happening around the majors Sunday:

MAXIMUM MAX

The Dodgers are ready to start ace Max Scherzer in Game 2 of the NL Championship Series against Atlanta, a day after manager Dave Roberts scratched the veteran right-hander to get him an extra day of rest.

Scherzer got his first career save Thursday by pitching the ninth inning of a 2-1 Game 5 win against San Francisco to close out their NL Division Series. Roberts planned to run him back out for NLCS Game 1 until Scherzer said his arm felt a little tired after a workout Friday.

”I knew that if I was going to pitch (Saturday), 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,” Scherzer said.

Scherzer expects to be able to give maximum effort Sunday, and he could still be available for another start later in the seven-game series.

GOOD START

At just 23 years old, Ian Anderson already has quite a postseason resume. Atlanta’s Game 2 starter is 3-0 with a 0.76 ERA in five career playoff starts, including five strong innings in a 3-0 Game 3 win over the Brewers in their NL Division Series.

The right-hander faced the Dodgers twice in last year’s NLCS, delivering four scoreless innings to start Game 2 before allowing two runs in three innings in a shakier Game 7 start – Los Angeles went on to win that game 4-3.

Going with Anderson allows manager Brian Snitker to get an extra day of rest for veteran Charlie Morton, who is lined up for Game 3.

REST UP

The Astros’ bruised and battered pitching staff gets a day to recover in Boston before their AL Championship Series resumes with Game 3 on Monday.

Starter Luis Garia was pulled in the second inning of Game 2 with right knee discomfort. That came after he allowed a first-inning grand slam to J.D. Martinez but before reliever Jake Odorizzi allowed another to Rafael Devers in the second. Boston is the first team with two grand slams in a postseason game.

Houston is also without starter Lance McCullers Jr., who was left off the ALCS roster because of a flexor pronator muscle strain in his right arm. He was feeling better Saturday but still isn’t able to throw. His availability for the World Series should the Astros advance is unclear.

Game 1 starter Framber Valdez covered just 2 2/3 innings in a 5-4 win, forcing manager Dusty Baker to push the bullpen hard over the first two games of the series, too.

Jose Urquidy is lined up to start Game 3 for Houston.

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

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