To no one’s surprise, the Los Angeles Dodgers expect Game 1 starter Walker Buehler to take them a long way in tomorrow’s deciding Game 5 of their National League Division Series matchup against the Washington Nationals and starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg.
In a press teleconference today, manager Dave Roberts spoke highly of his 25-year-old right-hander stating, “I’m going to have a hard time taking the ball out of Walker’s hand” tomorrow. Having the game at “at home with Walker on the mound gives us the best chance to win.”
Roberts confirmed that Will Smith will start as Buehler’s batterymate in Game 5, but was non-committal on the other rookies, Gavin Lux and Matt Beaty, who both saw starts versus right-hander Max Scherzer in Game 4.
But don’t infer the silence on Beaty means A.J. Pollock is necessarily starting in left field as Roberts declined to state specifically what the veteran’s outfielder’s role will be tomorrow.
With the game being the decider for the series, naturally Roberts stated that all his pitchers would be ready and available when called upon, and that it could be “anyone at any point.” But he did state that it was “highly unlikely” that a scenario would arise where Hyun-Jin Ryu would toe the rubber.
Roberts also expanded on his post-game comments last night regarding Clayton Kershaw “piggybacking” with Buehler in Game 5, clarifying that that meant “possible length with Clayton” if and when he enters the game.
Runs may be hard to come by for the Dodgers against Strasburg whose worst postseason outing in the last three years was Game 2 of this NLDS, and only because he was limited to six innings because he was pitching on short rest after a relief stint in the NL Wild Card game.
Strasburg allowed one run, struck out 10 Dodgers, and walked no one on Friday. That means run prevention is a must for Los Angeles, which may mean they go as far was Buehler can take them.
“I’m going to have a hard time taking the ball out of Walker’s hand.”