2021 NLDS: Dave Roberts Leaves Door Open For Max Scherzer In Game 5
Max Scherzer
Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers avoided having their season come to an abrupt end by defeating the San Francisco Giants, 7-2 in Game 4 of the National League Division Series. The longtime rivals now will meet in a winner-take-all matchup at Oracle Park on Thursday night.

After Walker Buehler turned in a gutsy effort on short rest, Julio Urias will look to send the Dodgers to the NL Championship Series for a fifth time over the last six seasons.

The left-hander is coming off a successful Game 2 outing in which he contributed on both sides fo the ball, collecting an RBI single and holding the Giants to one run across five innings of work en route to his seventh career postseason win.

The start will be on Urias’ normal turn through the rotation. Aside from Buehler, the only other pitcher who figures to be unavailable for the win-or-go-home affair is Max Scherzer, who tossed seven innings of one-run ball on 110 pitches in Game 3.

“We haven’t had that conversation yet,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts answered when asked if Scherzer will be available out of the bullpen in Game 5.

“I’m sure we’ll have it, but right now I will say he’s unavailable. But I’ve been known to change my mind, so we’ll see.”

Of Scherzer’s 24 career postseason appearances, all but four came in the form of starts. His last time pitching out of the bullpen in the playoffs was Game 2 of the 2019 NLDS against the Dodgers, when he tossed a perfect eighth inning.

The relief outing was on only two days’ rest as Scherzer started for the Washington Nationals in the NL Wild Card Game against the Milwaukee Brewers, logging five innings on 77 pitches.

Before that, the future Hall of Famer also pitched out of the bullpen on short rest in Game 5 of the 2017 NLDS against the Chicago Cubs. Scherzer took the loss as he allowed four runs (two earned) on three hits in the fifth inning.

Betts believes Urias has been ‘underrated’

As Urias gets set to make arguably the biggest start of his career, Mookie Betts recently voiced his confidence in him.

“I think Julio has, for a long time now, been kind of underrated and now people just are giving him his credit,” Betts said after the Dodgers’ win over the Giants in Game 2.

“He’s always been really good. I think this year he just was really consistent. I think that’s been the difference. Obviously in the postseason he’s always been really good, but throughout the season he’s had his ups and downs, but this year he’s just stayed consistent, one of our best arms.

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