Walker Buehler's early exits trip up Dodgers' pitching plan for NLCS

1:56 AM ET

ARLINGTON, Texas — A week ago, when a similar scenario presented itself in the opener of a shorter series, Dustin May approached his pitching coach, Mark Prior, immediately after completing two innings out of the bullpen and declared he would be ready to go the following day. The Los Angeles Dodgers, who had taken notice of the durability in May’s right arm, playfully dismissed the possibility.

Now, it seems, May’s resilience might be imperative. On Monday night, in a 5-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves to open this National League Championship Series, the Dodgers used May against eight batters — partly because Walker Buehler once again wasn’t as efficient as he was effective, further complicating matters in a best-of-seven series that doesn’t include off days and could very well go the distance.

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The strategy was both common and predictable: The Dodgers had used a starter — be it May or Julio Urias — to piggyback Buehler after each of his past two postseason starts, and manager Dave Roberts recently mentioned the importance of maintaining “optionality” with his pitchers. But that one short outing from May, lasting all of 21 pitches, carries ripple effects

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