Earlier this week, CBS Sports' MLB staff answered the following question: if you were the Los Angeles Dodgers, would you rather start Walker Buehler or Max Scherzer in the National League Wild Card Game? Dodgers manager Dave Roberts probably didn't read the roundtable, but he provided his answer on Thursday afternoon.
With 10 games remaining on their schedule, the Dodgers have aligned their rotation so that Buehler will start the regular-season finale against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday, Oct 3. From there, the Dodgers will deploy Scherzer in their next contest, be it the Wild Card Game, a potential Game 163 tiebreaker for the NL West crown or Game 1 of the NLDS.
"No doubt in my mind," Dave Roberts said of starting Scherzer in a high-leverage game, according to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. "He's the best pitcher in baseball."
For those wondering, all four of the CBS Sports staff respondents also said Scherzer would be their pick. And why wouldn't he be? In nine starts with the Dodgers, he's compiled a 0.78 ERA (520 ERA+) and a 11.29 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Overall this season, he has a 2.08 ERA (194 ERA+) and a 6.46 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 28 outings.
Buehler has been quite good himself, of course -- he has a 2.58 ERA (156 ERA+) and a 4.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 31 starts -- he just hasn't been at Scherzer's level.
It should be noted that the Dodgers might not encounter a Wild Card Game situation at all. They entered Thursday with a 97-55 record on the year, putting them two games back of the San Francisco Giants in the divisional race. The Dodgers won't play the Giants again during the regular season, but it's conceivable (if unlikely based on the current situation) that Los Angeles nonetheless wins the division outright.
SportsLine's projections give the Dodgers a 17 percent chance of doing just that.