It was the decision heard and seen around the world.
With the Dodgers up two runs and needing only six outs to win Game 2 of the NLCS, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts brought in starting pitcher Julio Urias. With Urias expected to start Game 4 of the series, many were surprised to see him come out of the bullpen.
The decision backfired, as Urias allowed two runs and allowed the Braves to tie the game. Atlanta ultimately won the game in the ninth inning with a walk-off hit.
While speaking with the media on the off-day today, Roberts said that he still stands by his decision to use Urias in relief and went more in-depth on where the Dodgers’ bullpen is as a whole.
“Different doesn’t mean it’s wrong,” Roberts said. “A decision that doesn’t work out doesn’t mean it’s the wrong decision. Everyone in that clubhouse believes we’re going about it the right way. For us, that’s the most important thing.
“I don’t think using Julio in Game 1 or 2 changed that. I don’t see the cost. We had to get to a point where we were at to win the game and figure it out. Things just can’t be scripted, you’ve got to go off script to what I feel is the best chance to win again, let alone a series.”
Urias is still scheduled to start Game 4, but things can change and we could see him start Game 5.
“There’s going to be a bullpen Game in Game 4 or 5,” Roberts said. “It’s what puts Julio in the best chance to be most effective. That’s knowing [Scherzer] will start Game 6.”
If I were to guess, and this is just my opinion, I think the Dodgers will start Urias for Game 4 if they lose tomorrow and they fall behind 3-0 in the series. If the Dodgers win and trail the series 2-1, I could see them opting with a bullpen game for Game 4. With Atlanta having a bullpen game as well, it gives the Dodgers a shot at evening the series to set up Urias, Scherzer and Buehler for the final three games.
After having one of the best bullpens in all of baseball, the Dodgers have turned to their starters in the biggest moments of the postseason. Not just with Urias, but with Scherzer back in Game 5 of the NLDS. Roberts was asked why he doesn’t trust his great bullpen and why he feels the need to turn to his starters to record outs late in the game.
“The particular case with Max, we felt that was the best chance to finish that game,” Roberts said. “We felt good about winning that game. As far as Julio, appreciating it’s a seven game series and him being a viable option. Appreciating he’s done it before. He’s not the young rookie I think people can’t get past.
“If we didn’t go with Max, we might not be having this conversation right now. I certainly think there’s a cost. I don’t think using Max in Game 5 is why we’re down 2-0 in this series.”
Roberts was also asked about the Dodgers’ hitting this series and their inability to deliver hits when needed. He said that it’s definitely something the Dodgers can improve on.
“I believe we’re going to win this series,” Roberts said. “That’s the great thing about baseball. It opens things up for second guessing. It’s a lot of different variables you can think through.”
Justin Turner update
After not starting in Game 2 due to a neck stinger, the expectation is that Justin Turner will be in the starting lineup for Game 3.
“I don’t anticipate him doing much baseball activity, but he feels better than yesterday,” Roberts said. “My expectation is that he’ll be in the lineup tomorrow.”
Although Turner didn’t start, he had a plate appearance in the seventh inning of Game 2. He was hit by a pitch.