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Dodgers: LA Reveals the Rest of the NLCS Rotation Against the Atlanta Braves



After having to break the “in case of emergency’ glass against the Giants in Game 5 with the use of Max Scherzer, the Dodgers had to rethink their approach for Game 1 of the NLCS against Atlanta. While they could have trotted Max out there for the first game, they thought it wise to go in a different direction.

Los Angeles already revealed that Corey Knebel is starting game 1 in what looks to be a bullpen game. Doing so allows the team to give an extra day of rest to their depleted rotation. The plan for NLCS rotation was revealed to look like this:

  • Game 2: Max Scherzer
  • Game 3: Walker Buehler
  • Game 4: Julio Urías 

While going with a bullpen game in game 1 seems awfully risky, the pen has been fantastic lately for Los Angeles. Doing so in game 5 worked out quite well for the team, and they turned to the use of another bulk pitcher, one we hadn’t seen in a while. It would also mean a fully prepared Scherzer compared to one that would’ve had a pitch limit had he started in game 1. Both Walker Buehler and Urías would be guaranteed to get their full rest as well.

Depending on how the series plays out, the Dodgers could then roll out Scherzer again for game 5, Buehler for game 6, and Julio for game 7 if need be. They could also have another bullpen game for game 5, throw Scherzer in game 6, and Buehler for game 7 with a Julio in relief to perform a repeat performance of the 2020 NLCS.

With the way, the Dodgers’ pitching has performed all season, and the hope that the offense can have a change of fortune at the plate, hopefully, the series doesn’t have to go the distance. 

NEXT: MLB Analyst Breaks Down Cody Bellinger’s Swing Changes

Written by Adam Salcido

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    • Not only CT3, Seager (not staying with the tag 1st inning), Smith passed ball (arghh), Mookie (CT3 on 3rd one out), Gonsolin (throwing Riley a heater). Treinen pitching to Riley with 1B open.

      Overall, atrocious execution and Dodgers still almost won! Tomorrow will be the last time Braves’ fans see their team at home.

      I’m sticking to my prediction, Dodgers in 5!

      • Unfair to Smith. Knebel threw the fastball three feet off the plate. I’ll correct your above statement from Smith pass ball to Knebel wild pitch. You mention you pitched at one time; your bias is showing.

        • Bum4ever, do you recall the 2017 WS? Grandal the starting catcher got benched mid-way through the series in favor of Barnes because he couldn’t stop a single passed ball! Smith, undoubtedly the best hitting catcher since Piazza, is as bad if not worse than Grandal! But I love his bat!

      • I’m sure you meant Knebel wild pitch because that fastball was two feet off the plate and even Ron Darling – a former pitcher – said Smith had no chance. Officially, it was ruled a wild pitch. Smith’s making a case for best catcher in baseball; I don’t understand why you’re so down on him.

        • Bum4ever, Smith has become (actually always has been) one of the most reliable postseason hitters in Dodger history. Unfortunately he might be possibly the worst defensive catcher as well. On par with Grandal who got benched for Barnes in the 2017 WS because he couldn’t stop a single passed ball! Smith couldn’t catch me (a former pitcher now 61!) He can’t make tags for beans either! Misses throws from outfielders regularly. Absolutely god awful overall defensively. Should I go on? BUT I LOVE HIS BAT!

      • No secret here the Dodgers are a team built on pitching, as much as the announcers and others like to talk about their potent lineup, they have played 7 games so far in the postseason and scored 3 or less in 5 of them. They do not hit with men in scoring position, Trea Turner is a prime example, great hitter with bases empty, other than that an average hitter as a Dodger. Having Pujols and Pollock in the same lineup is a recipe for disaster. The other three remaining teams all have powerhouse lineups, while Dodgers have a bunch of names with good numbers that has not played out for a lot of this season, watching the Dodger postgame shows Nomar, Jerry Hairston et al all talk about their lack of production with men on base, it has been their calling card this season. They are definitely in trouble against good hitting teams with above average pitching. Their whole season comes down to their three ace starters and a shutdown bullpen. Let’s hope this formula works.

        • Koofoo, spot on! If the Dodgers were to get into a slugfest they would be in deep doo-doo. Thank goodness both the Cheaters and Cheater led Red Sox have terrible pitching (as can be seen by the scores so far). Dodgers have always been led by superior pitching, has been their calling card…why would you expect it to be any different now?

        • koofoo – no reason to hope the Dodger formula works. They are 8 victories away from another World Series Championship!

      • I agree with you – there were several situations during the game when better decisions could have been made or better fielding performances would have helped but CT3’s bad decision on the base path was so in-our-faces obvious and now he is being blamed for the loss. Oh how we loved him after the WC game!! It’s a little unfair and I protest!!

        • Exactly Joe. No contest, series already over. MLB had the Dodgers throw game one for ratings. Why would anyone tune in to see a blowout series?? Especially after the WS had already concluded…unfortunately it was only a 5 game series 😉

    • Mookie not hitting a fly ball but striking out in the 7th with one out (after he had hit 2 fly balls deep in the game already. That one hurt more IMHO. Then Robert’s not stealing CT3 on the first pitch of Cody Bellingers at bat (then he gets a hit that CT3 would have scored on).
      If CT3 stops at 2nd we still need a base hit with 2 out.

    • Dave, CT3 was one of many Dodgers to cost us the game. Hats off to the braves for stealing one at home!

    • yes CT3 admitted he made a bad read and should have stopped at 2nd since Joc was on the ball quickly

  1. Jansen and Treinen have been so reliable in their roles. Why change this?
    He tried this in a regular season game (I don’t remember which one) and it didn’t go well.
    Very bad movement, in my opinion.

  2. Unbelievable. Dodgers keep running into the LUCKIEST teams in MLB! Even so Braves fans…get ready to say goodbye to team tomorrow because it’s going to be your last chance to see them at home.

    Dodgers couldn’t play any worse and still almost won!

    • I thought the same as well. Kinda like the 1st game in the Dodger gnat series. Dodgers win the WC and needed a game to get back to business. Same thing with this game against the braves as a bullpen game, no less. we still almost won it. Scherzer should shut them down and Dodgers come home looking to sweep next week

  3. Ok so Braves enjoy your gift wrapped present. But don’t expect anymore.

    Sunday’s projected lineup:

    RF Betts
    2B T Turner
    SS Seager
    C Smith
    CF Lux
    3B J Turner
    1B Bellinger
    LF Taylor
    P Scherzer

    Maximum left/right order. Facing a right-hander Ian Anderson.

    • All right, Mr. GM! Sounds like you know what you’re doing, because you’ve been there before! That is, running everything down the toilet, nice job!! Oh yeah, go Dodgers by the way!

    • It’s going to be obvious that Dodgers cannot expect to win if they can only get across 1 or 2 runs. We have great pitching but Braves are capable of putting up a few runs themselves. Wild pitching a run over and making the last out on the base paths are not probably what would result in winning the game.

      • 1963 WS Dodgers sweep the Yankees. Scores:
        5-2, 4-2, 1-0, 2-1. Dodgers have a history of great pitching and just enough offense to win. Why should it be any different now? As long as they score enough to win who cares?

        • yup – you only need 1 more run than the opposition, and only 1 more victory in these playoff series than each opponent. Dodgers work this to a T!

    • I think it’s time to give JT a game off. His last at bat looked like a guy who is physically and mentally gassed. Four pitches all balls, the last three not even close and he flailed at all of them. Rest and recharge for game 3 in my view. Pollack in left, CT at third.

    • I believe it’s time to give JT a game off so he can recharge. His last at bat was indicative of a guy who is gassed. Swung at three in a row way out of the zone. That’s just not him… reset needed.

      • John, conjecture? I haven’t seen the lineup yet.

        I’d be fine with sitting JT, but I doubt it happens.

        • John, you were close. JT is getting the day off. Only your order was off:

          RF Betts
          SS Seager
          2B T Turner
          C Smith
          CF Lux
          3B Taylor
          1B Bellinger
          LF Pollock
          P Scherzer

          Now go out and take no prisoners!

          Let’s go Dodgers!

          • Here is how I would have gone with it:

            RF Betts
            3B Seager (just wait)
            SS T Turner
            C Smith
            2B Lux
            CF Taylor
            1B Bellinger
            LF Pollock
            P Scherzer

            Under this scenario you only have one player out of playing position! Currently we have 3! CT3 has only 10 starts at 3B. Yes I know Seags has none.

            Btw Vesia struck out Riley…Blake, ask him how!

      • Braves running with same lineup as game 1 other than the obvious pitching spot change

        Dodger lineup still not posted. What are they waiting on? Should’t take this long IMHO.

        • Dodgerfan4life – never going to see Seag’s at 3rd this playoff. he and Trea are not moving at this point! Lux at 2nd sorry no. Dodger lineup is good – CT3 will handle 3rd just fine. Glad Dodgers got Lux and Belli back in the lineup. Oh how we miss Muncy!

          • Joe, while you are probably right. Kris Bryant a 3B player started at 1B and all 3 outfield positions for the giants in the WS (oops, it only seemed like that). It didn’t seem to hurt the Giants any on defense. I’d much rather have one guy out of their natural position than 3! Call me crazy.

    • The only and I mean only thing bad about losing game 1 is that it was a game the Dodgers just as easily could have won. All it did was prevent a Dodgers sweep IMHO.

  4. Through all of this they avoid using Gonsolin unless they just have to, why? Is he not a decent 4th starter? His era is @ 3.50. Why not get him an inning here or there just to keep him sharp, get into playoff action and boost his morale? Why not let him start the game since they used 2 other righthsnders to open anyway. Now you have a game 5 where he pitches again or Scherzer pitches on short rest.
    For some reason Gonsolin and Beatty are not valued on this team.

    • Gonsolin wasn’t fooling anyone last night. Several hard hit balls to the fence including the one that left the yard. Recall how quiet Atlanta was before and after him…. He’s a good pitcher but it just wasn’t his night otherwise he would’ve pitched a couple more innings at least.

      • Pretty obvious to anyone with any baseball knowledge that Gonsolin doesn’t have what the other three headed monster pitchers have. Was the same issue last postseason!

        • I’d start Bruihl before I started Gonsolin! Dodgers certainly have an issue with the #4 starter at the moment. Not worried about this series, but could be an issue in the WS.

        • Oh, Geeeez, as if everyone else in the world doesn’t know that, Mr. “Know It All”>::

          LMAO!!!

  5. The Dodgers took a flyer on game 1 in order to set the rotation up well games 2 thru 5 and it almost worked. No one could have predicted Kneble would throw one so far outside Smith couldn’t handle it…although Smith is a poor defender. The bullpen game strategy would have worked in Tony G. had pitched some in the last three weeks.
    Given the Dodgers perpetual, multi-year poor performance with RISP, I can’t blame CT3 for heading for third…his mistake turned out to be stopping, not trying to go first to third, but how would he know what was going on behind him other than picking up Dino Ebel sooner? It would have been interesting to watch but who here is optimistic that Mookie would have driven him in and IF we went to extra innings our pitching staff would have been further depleted. It would have been worth the risk to head on into third base; Treinen’s failure was unpredicted, despite the fact that we have been riding him hard for the past month. I’m just glad we avoided extra innings and that this is a seven game series.

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