The Dodgers in 2016 flourished unlike any other team when in scramble mode with their pitching staff. If they are to win their first postseason series in three years, Game 5 of the National League Division Series will be more of the same.
"It’s going to be a collection of arms," manager Dave Roberts said after Tuesday’s 6-5 Dodgers win in Game 4, forcing a winner-take-all matchup with the Nationals.
"We talked about Rich as an option, obviously. But so is Julio and how we want to strategize to win Game 5," Roberts said. "We’re going to talk through it."
Andrew Friedman says Rich Hill is not officially the Game 5 starter. "It's not decided," he said. "But that means he really wants it."— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) October 12, 2016
Hill would be on just three days rest, while Julio Urias would be well rested but likely also on an innings limit. Either way, neither figures to pitch a normal starter’s length in Game 5. But that’s nothing new.
The Dodgers during the season were 39-44 (.470) in games that their starting pitcher lasted five or fewer innings. The 39 runs were 11 more than the next-highest team (Baltimore), and their winning percentage far outstripped the rest of MLB (.318) in such contests, with an average of 18 wins for the other 29 teams.
Roberts said it was fair to assume we would see both Hill and Urias in Game 5, and thanks to Wednesday’s off day there will be a full seven-man bullpen behind them.
The Dodgers bullpen has pitched 16 innings in the NLDS, an average of five appearances and four innings per game.
"I think the off day is huge for us, just to reset for Game 5, and also just to kind of get our guys in the pen to reset and recover," Roberts said.
There is one Dodger who will not be pitching on Thursday.
"I know Kershaw ain’t pitching," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said, amid laughter. "Thank God."
Game 5 of the NLDS is Thursday at Nationals Park in Washington D.C., and the start time is dependent on the outcome of tonight’s Game 4 of Cubs-Giants. If Chicago wins tonight, the Dodgers and Nationals play at 5:08 p.m. PT on Thursday. If San Francisco wins, the Dodgers play at 2:05 p.m. Thursday.