MLB roundtable: Who should the Dodgers start if they reach Wild Card Game — Max Scherzer or Walker Buehler?

Fewer than two weeks remain in the regular season and the postseason races are tighter than they looked like they would be a few weeks ago. We’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and there is still so much to be decided. Postseason races, award races, pursuits of history, etc.

Throughout the season the CBS Sports MLB scribes will bring you a weekly roundtable breaking down, well, pretty much anything. The latest news, a historical question, thoughts about the future of baseball, all sorts of stuff. Last week we debated the AL wild card race. This week we’re going to tackle the NL Wild Card Game starting pitcher.

Mike Axisa: Let me start by acknowledging the Dodgers might not even play in the Wild Card Game. They could still win the NL West and I don’t think anyone would be surprised. Consider this question a fun thought experiment and nothing more (for now).

Anyway, there’s no wrong answer here. Buehler and Scherzer are both excellent and have proven their mettle in the postseason. I suppose the Dodgers could figure out which one is more comfortable pitching in relief, then start the other guy with the other in the bullpen so both are available in the win or go home game. That’s a viable strategy but also overthinking it, I think.

Scherzer’s been on such a dominant run with Los Angeles — this is Jake Arrieta in the second half of 2015 kinda stuff — that I’d go with him with my season on the line. Can’t go wrong with a future Hall of Famer still at the height of his powers. Give me Scherzer in the Wild Card Game and Buehler in Game 1 of the NLDS (potentially). 

(Shoutout to Julio Urías, who’s been great this year, and Clayton Kershaw, who’s a future Hall of Famer himself. They’d be viable Wild Card Game starters on most teams. Just not this one.)

R.J. Anderson: Assuming everyone is on equal rest and there are no underlying injury issues to contemplate, I’ll go with Scherzer. You can’t go wrong either way, of course, but these are literally the situations you have in mind when you acquire someone of his ilk. Besides, I wouldn’t want to have to tell him he’s not starting with the season on the line. 

Matt Snyder: Scherzer has been on an absolute rampage since the Dodgers acquired him. I could dive deep and throw out all kinds of stats, but the bottom line will always come back to me wanting that guy — the Hall of Famer who seemingly will have steam coming out of his ears through sheer intensity — taking the ball in a must-win game. 

Dayn Perry: I have to go with Scherzer. He’s a bulldog, and he’s pitching at peak level this season. Peak level for him is of course Hall of Fame level. On a more self-serving note from the standpoint of Dave Roberts, he’d likely be subject to much more criticism if he went with Buehler and it didn’t work as opposed to going with Scherzer and getting bad results. In this case, though, the more risk-averse path is the better one. 

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