Los Angeles Dodgers

Braves vs. Dodgers NLCS Game 4 Preview: Julio Urias Starts for LA

In a postseason already marked by curious pitching strategy, Julio Urías returns to his regular role in the rotation when the Los Angeles Dodgers play Atlanta in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

National League Championship Series Game 4: Atlanta Braves v. Los Angeles Dodgers
Daniel Shirey

In a postseason already marked by curious pitching strategy, Julio Urías returns to his regular role in the rotation when the Los Angeles Dodgers play Atlanta in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series on Wednesday.

Urías led the majors with 20 wins this season while pitching 32 times, all as a starter. After starting and winning Game 2 of the NL Division Series against San Francisco, he threw four key innings of relief in the deciding Game 5 victory over the Giants.

Urías then blew a late lead in relief in Game 2 of the NLCS, allowing Atlanta to eventually win. Los Angeles trails the series 2-1 going into this matchup at Dodger Stadium.

The 25-year-old lefty excelled as a starter and reliever in the postseason last year, helping the Dodgers win their first World Series championship since 1988.

Braves' manager Brian Snitker says he'll go with a bullpen game. After losing 6-5 on Tuesday night, he said he hadn't decided who would start, but on Wednesday they announced it would be Huascar Ynoa. However, Ynoa was scratched after experiencing discomfort in his throwing shoulder and was removed from the NLCS Roster.

Instead, the Braves will use relief pitcher Jesse Chavez as an opener. Chavez appeared in relief in the eighth inning in Game 3, and surrendered the game-winning RBI double to Mookie Betts.

Earlier this month, Dodgers ace Max Scherzer became the closer for a day, finishing off the Giants in Game 5.

The Dodgers normal closer, Kenley Jansen, pitched the 8th inning in Game 5.

Three months after struggles caused him to lose the closer’s job temporarily, Dodgers reliever Jansen is at the top of his game this October.

The 34-year-old right-hander has struck out 12 of the 17 batters he's faced in the playoffs, pitching five scoreless innings in six games. Jansen is 2-0 with one save, allowing two hits and no walks.

After the Dodgers scored four times in the eighth to take the lead over Atlanta in Game 3 of the NL Championship Series, Jansen struck out Austin Riley, Joc Pederson and Adam Duvall in order on 17 pitches, reaching a high of 95.2 mph as Duvall fanned on a sinker.

Jansen's save cut the Dodgers' deficit to 2-1.

“You learn from when you have to deal with adversity and knowing that I didn’t have my best two years the last couple of years,” Jansen said last week. “I’m a more experienced pitcher now instead of being stubborn out there and just die with one pitch.”

The Dodgers were 58-23 on their home turf in 2021. Los Angeles has a team slugging percentage of .378 this postseason, Will Smith leads them with a mark of .656, including five extra base hits and four RBIs.

The Braves were 46-35 on the road in 2021. Atlanta has hit six home runs this postseason, Austin Riley has accounted for two of them en route to posting a slugging percentage of .654.

The Dodgers won the last meeting 6-5. Tony Gonsolin earned his first victory this postseason and Cody Bellinger went 1-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs for Los Angeles. Luke Jackson registered his first loss of the postseason for Atlanta.

The Dodgers offense has struggled in the postseason, especially with runners in scoring position. Before the eighth inning in Game 3, Los Angles was 2-for-20 (.100) with RISP in the NLCS. The Dodgers are batting .241 in the playoffs overall and have been carried by their pitching staff, which has a 2.73 ERA.

Atlanta's aces have been even better, posting a 2.66 ERA and the Braves are batting .252 in the playoffs.

First pitch for Game 4 will be at 5:08PM PT.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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