The key word before Friday’s Game 2 was “plan” because Atlanta manager Brian Snitker didn’t rule out changing direction if Gausman was needed in an emergency situation. However, Gausman did not pitch in the Braves’ 3-0 loss.
“I was going to send him back [to Atlanta] today, but we’re not,” Snitker said. “I’m going to hold on to him just in case something happens tonight. If it does and he has to pitch, then we’ll adjust and regroup from there. But as of right now, if everything goes where it is, he’ll be the Game 3 starter.”
Gausman, 27, was acquired in a midseason trade by Atlanta from the Baltimore Orioles to provide some veteran stability for the club’s young starting rotation. Gausman responded with some of the best pitching of his big league career, going 5-3 with a 2.87 ERA over 10 starts for the Braves. Earlier this season, with the Orioles, Gausman was 5-8 with a 4.43 ERA.
“He’s just been really good for us since we got him,” Snitker said. “So, end of the year when we were going forward, we were looking at him as probably he’s going to be one of the first three that we pitch in the playoffs.”
Gausman appeared in the 2014 postseason for Baltimore as a reliever, posting a 1.13 ERA over eight innings in three outings.
The Braves also dropped Game 1 in Los Angeles, losing 6-0 to the Dodgers on Thursday night.
The Dodgers will send rookie Walker Buehler to the mound on Sunday.
The 24-year-old right-hander last pitched on Monday, allowing one hit in 6 2/3 innings and striking out three in the NL West tiebreaker victory over the Colorado Rockies.
Buehler was 8-5 with a 2.62 ERA, becoming a solid No. 2 behind ace Clayton Kershaw.
“If it wasn’t for Walker, we probably wouldn’t be here in this situation right now,” second baseman Enrique Hernandez said Friday. “He’s been huge.”
Buehler made his lone career start against the Braves on June 8 at Dodger Stadium, allowing one run and two hits in 5 1/3 innings of a 7-3 victory. He struck out four and didn’t walk anyone on 71 pitches.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.