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#pounditWednesday, December 8, 2021

Reason Dodgers chose Corey Knebel to start Game 5 revealed

Dave Roberts in Dodgers gear

The Los Angeles Dodgers pulled a stunner on Thursday when they announced a change of plans for Game 5 of the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants later that night. The Dodgers were expected to start Julio Urias. However, they changed plans and said relief pitcher Corey Knebel would start as an “opener.”

Why did the Dodgers choose to switch things up? Dodgers manager Dave Roberts essentially said they’re trying to play games with the Giants by forcing them into difficult matchups.

Knebel is a righthander, while Urias is a lefty. By starting a righthander, that forced the Giants to decide if they wanted to set their starting lineup to matchup with Knebel or optimize their lineup for Urias. If they optimized for Knebel, they would theoretically have to make more substitutions early in the game.

Unsurprisingly, Roberts said that the pitching decision came from above him.

If the Dodgers lose or the opener plan goes poorly, the team will be criticized for outsmarting themselves.

I’m on record saying this much: go with your best pitcher and don’t mess around. That would be Urias. The Dodgers already seem psyched out, which is not a good look entering a pivotal Game 5.

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