The two best words in sports: Game Five.
Oh wait, that’s not right. The two best words in sports are Game Seven. But since the Dodgers and their 106 wins had to settle for the wild card, this is the closest we’ll get. Sure, we would have loved to see a seven-game series for the two best teams in baseball, but at least we’re getting all five of the scheduled division series games.
And it wouldn’t be a winner-take-all elimination game without some drama. Dave Roberts and the Dodgers are going with the opener strategy, starting Corey Knebel instead of Julio Urias.
Corey Knebel will start Game 5 tonight.— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 14, 2021
This isn’t the first time Roberts has used an opener. It also isn’t the first time this season that Knebel has filled that role. He has made four starts in his career, each of which came after August 18 of this season. He pitched a combined 5.2 IP in those games, capping out at 2.0 innings in a September 3 start against these same Giants. He gave up just one run in those four starts.
As for the reasoning, it looks like a preventative measure from Roberts to keep Gabe Kapler from stacking the top of his order with right-handed hitters.
I like this gambit from the Dodgers. It prevents SF from stacking the top of the lineup with the RHH platoon dudes. Corey Knebel can steal three outs and shorten the game. And Julio Urias is measured enough that it is unlikely to mess with his rhythm.— Andy McCullough (@ByMcCullough) October 14, 2021
Needless to say, given the magnitude of this game, Roberts will be desperate to see a clean first inning from Knebel. Lucky for him, there is some big baseball news that distracted many of us from the anticipation of tonight’s game.
The Cardinals shockingly announced that they have fired manager Mike Shildt due to “philosophical differences.”
Cardinals president John Mozeliak said he fired manager Mike Shildt earlier today due to a “philosophical difference” in the direction of the team. “We decided internally it would be best to separate now,” he said, even though Shildt had one year left on his contract.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 14, 2021
As a fan of both elimination games and baseball drama, I have to say that I take issue with the timing of this firing. I would have preferred it happen yesterday, when there was not an elimination game to be played, so I could enjoy Twitter more instead of having a divided mind. I am saddened that the Cardinals were not thinking of me when this decision was made.
Here are the lineups for what might just be the most exciting game of the 2021 postseason.