Corey Knebel will start for the Dodgers in a decisive Game 5 of the National League Division Series against the Giants Thursday night in San Francisco.
The Dodgers announced the tactical move to start Knebel, no stranger to the opener role, in a tweet Thursday morning.
The decision to start the right-handed reliever means lefty Julio Urias, the MLB's lone 20-game winner in 2021 with a 20-3 record, will likely step in during the early innings to take over. Knebel started four games during the regular season, including a Sept. 3 game against the Giants when he threw two scoreless innings.
He was 4-0 this season with a 2.45 ERA in 27 appearances.
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Starting a right-hander is a strategy that might force the Giants into making changes in their batting order. No changes were announced early Thursday afternoon.
One of Urias' three losses was to the Giants, when he allowed seven runs (six earned) and 11 hits in five innings in an 11-6 loss at Dodger Stadium May 29. Urias was 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA against San Francisco in the regular season, allowing two or fewer runs in each of his other four starts.
Urias was the Game 2 winner Saturday, limiting the Giants to one run and three hits over five innings, striking out five and walking one in the Dodgers' 9-2 victory.
Logan Webb will start for San Francisco. The right-hander was the Game 1 winner Friday, pitching 7 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing five hits, striking out 10 and not walking a batter in the 4-0 victory.
Webb was 11-3 with a 3.03 ERA in the regular season and 6-0 with a 1.96 ERA at Oracle Park, where the Giants were 12-0 in his starts.
Including the Game 1 start, Webb has made 21 consecutive starts without a losing decision. San Francisco is 19-2 in Webb's last 21 starts.
Gavin Lux will make his second consecutive start in the outfield for the Dodgers, manager Dave Roberts said.
Lux was a pinch-hitter each of the first three game of the series, going hitless in three at-bats as a pinch-hitter, then started in center field in the Dodgers' 7-2 victory in Game 4 Tuesday, reaching base on all four plate appearances, going two-for-two with two walks.
Lux had never played in the outfield in his six-season professional career before this season.
The only comment Giants manager Gabe Kapler made about his team's lineup was ``there's not going to be anything that surprises anybody.''
Being the home team in Game 5 of a division series has not proven to provide an advantage as the home team is 13-20.
Another piece of history is against the Dodgers. In the 43 division series that were tied after two games, the team that won Game 3 went on to win the series 32 times. The Dodgers lost Game 3 1-0 Monday.
A viewing party will be held at Dodger Stadium in the Centerfield Plaza and will include the opportunities to hit and pitch in the batting and pitching cages. There will also be World Series Replica Ring giveaways and free parking for ticketholders.
Dodger merchandise locations will be open in the Centerfield Plaza along with concessions in the Overlook Bars, Dueling Dogs, Golden Road Bar, Shake Shack, Jim Beam Bar, Mastercard Food Truck, ice cream truck and Michelada fire truck, which serves micheladas on draft.
Viewing Party tickets cost $70 and include a $20 food and beverage credit. Parking and stadium gates will open one hour before the game, which is set to start at 6:07 p.m. and will be televised by TBS.
The winner of Game 5 will advance to the National League Championship Series against the NL East champion Atlanta Braves, who completed a three games to one victory over the NL Central champion Milwaukee Brewers in their National League Division Series with a 5-4 victory Tuesday.
Even though the Dodgers had a better regular-season record than the Braves, going 106-56 while Atlanta was 88-73, the Braves would have the home-field advantage in the NLCS because they won their division. The NLCS is scheduled to begin Saturday. The Dodgers would play the first two games on the road.