Chris Taylor: Dodgers Excel When Playing With ‘Backs Against The Wall’
Chris Taylor, 2021 NLDS
Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers evened the National League Division Series and now will play the San Francisco Giants in a winner-take-all Game 5 at Oracle Park.

The Dodgers are plenty familiar with elimination contests as they defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in the Wild Card Game and overcame a 3-1 deficit against the Atlanta Braves in the NL Championship Series last year.

“Last year we had a bunch of elimination games, but I don’t know if we learned anything,” Chris Taylor said on Tuesday. “I think we’re best when our backs are against the wall, and we’ve shown that.

“We understand we still control our own destiny and all we can focus on is tonight and we’re going to do everything we can to win tonight’s game.”

As Taylor pointed out, the Dodgers tend to rise to the occasion more often than not when facing adversity. That’s evident by the team’s 8-4 record in elimination games since Dave Roberts took the helm as manager at the end of the 2015 season.

Mookie Betts isn’t sure why the Dodgers have performed so well in high-pressure situations, but praised Walker Buehler for delivering another big-game performance. “I don’t really know. I don’t have the answer,” Betts began.

“I just know when our backs are against the wall we got a guy named Walker Buehler that ends up getting us out of it. So he did it again. But we got one more game. Julio has to bring us home.”

Starting on short rest for the first time in his career, Buehler held the Giants to just one run and three hits over 4.1 innings in Game 4. The right-hander’s appearance came to fruition after he volunteered to take the mound just hours before the pivotal contest.

“Walker actually brought it up to us, and we were late in kind of deciding because we wanted to make sure he woke up feeling good,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts explained. “So I think once he came and felt good, it was a no-brainer.”

Betts voices confidence in Urias

Having already voiced his confidence in Buehler, Betts did the same for Julio Urias as he gets set to make the biggest start of his career. “Just seems like Julio has this weird but like old soul about him,” Betts said after Game 4.

“He just gets on the mound like he’s been there, he’s done it and he’s got so much confidence in himself that it just kind of oozes out on everyone else.

“He may not say a whole lot, but you can just kind of see it. I’m sure he’ll have that confidence oozing out and we just got to win one game.”

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