How Dave Roberts’ daring pitching technique led to a second straight NLCS berth for Dodgers


How Dave Roberts' daring pitching technique led to a second straight NLCS berth for Dodgers

The Dodgers received the World Sequence final 12 months, adopted that up with an 106-win regular-season efficiency this 12 months and, because of a 2-1 victory on Thursday, made the NLCS for a second consecutive 12 months.

Regardless of all that, Dodgers supervisor Dave Roberts was broadly questioned for a choice he and staff executives made forward of Thursday’s deciding Sport 5 of the NLDS towards the Giants.

Roberts instructed reporters that reliever Corey Knebel would open the sport. It is one thing the Dodgers and Knebel did a number of occasions within the common season. Julio Urias would comply with later.

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A part of the reason for utilizing an opener was strategic and based on handedness. Giants supervisor Gabe Kapler countered Roberts’ choice by including a left-handed hitter to his Sport 5 lineup (Tommy LaStella) and transferring one other lefty swinger (Brandon Crawford) as much as fourth within the order, making issues doubtlessly more durable for the right-handed Knebel.

Knebel opened 4 occasions within the common season. In 5 2/3 innings, he allowed one run on six hits and struck out 4. So there was a pattern dimension to point out it may work. And but, Roberts was criticized heavily on Twitter by followers and media alike who questioned whether or not the choice was “too cute” or a product of overthinking.

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Even it was the entire above, the very fact is, the technique labored and made historical past within the course of.

After Knebel got here Brusdar Graterol, adopted by Urias, Blake Treinen, Kenley Jansen and Max Scherzer, who recorded the primary save of his profession. These are all pitchers followers may count on to see over the course of a must-win playoff recreation, albeit in a distinct order.

MORE: Playoff schedule, bracket, TV times 

Here is how Roberts’ administration of his pitching employees shook out:

First inning: Corey Knebel; one hit allowed, one strikeout

As deliberate, Knebel got here out to begin the sport. He retired the primary two batters on simply 5 pitches, however Buster Posey shortly made issues attention-grabbing by roping a first-pitch double to proper subject.

No matter hassle the hit could have brought about Knebel ended shortly as he struck out Crawford to finish a seven-pitch at-bat.

Second inning: Brusdar Graterol; two hits, one strikeout

Graterol obtained off to a tough begin in reduction of Knebel, giving up a two-strike single to Kris Bryant to guide off the underside of the second. He retired Mike Yastrzemski on a popout, however then Wilmer Flores adopted with a single to place one other Giants runner in scoring place. 

The fitting-hander labored out of the jam by getting Evan Longoria to come out and pitcher Logan Webb to strike out. All instructed, Graterol threw 22 pitches in his inning.

Third by sixth innings: Julio Urias; three hits, one run (earned), 5 strikeouts

Urias was initially slated to begin Sport 5, however he entered within the third for his first reduction outing of the season. Other than a Darin Ruf dwelling run that tied the sport within the backside of the sixth inning, Urias regarded sharp, throwing 41 of his 59 pitches for strikes and notching two 1-2-3 innings.

Seventh inning: Blake Treinen; two strikeouts

Treinen has been a do-it-all reliever for the Dodgers since becoming a member of them final 12 months. He has closed video games, set them up and labored in lesser reduction roles. He was lights out in his inning Thursday, placing out Longoria and Alex Dickerson in a 1-2-3 body to maintain the sport tied.

Eighth inning: Kenley Jansen; two strikeouts, win

Jansen has been dominant this season because the Dodgers’ nearer. He transformed 38 of 44 save alternatives and struck out 86 as he pitched to a 2.22 ERA. The strikeouts and ERA have been each his finest since 2017. However right here he was requested to pitch in a setup function and he excelled.

Donovan Solano — who had hit for LaStella main off the third when Urias entered — ripped a bullet to 3rd baseman Justin Turner for the primary out earlier than Jansen struck out Ruf and Posey to ship the sport to the ninth inning nonetheless tied.

Max Scherzer: two strikeouts, save

Earlier than Thursday, Scherzer had made 4 reduction appearances within the postseason and historical past wasn’t on his facet.

Scherzer obtained the primary out within the ninth, however then Bryant reached on an error by Turner, giving the Giants late life. He struck out frequent late-game hero LaMonte Wade Jr. to maneuver the Dodgers one out away.

Up got here Flores because the Giants’ final hope of continuous their shocking season. Scherzer shortly obtained forward of him 0-2. On the following pitch, Flores was rung up on a questionable check-swing name by first base umpire Gabe Morales that ended the sport and positioned Morales beneath the microscope.

MORE: Brutal check swing call ends Giants’ season

The daring technique had labored. Do not be stunned if Roberts and the Dodgers make use of it once more within the NLCS, which begins Saturday in Atlanta (8:07 p.m ET, TBS).




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