ATLANTA – The Los Angeles Dodgers will use right-hand reliever Corey Knebel as their starter and will apparently use a bullpen game for Game 1 of their National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves on Saturday night, a direct reflection of that. it took to defeat the San Francisco Giants in the previous round.
The decision would presumably push Max Scherzer to start Game 2, giving him an extra day after he pitched the last inning of the NL Division Series on Thursday. In that scenario, Walker Buehler would pitch Game 3 from Los Angeles on Tuesday, giving Buehler six days off after his short-break start in Game 4 of the SDLN.
Knebel has started five times this season, including the SDLN decider on Thursday. Knebel took the first inning from Oracle Park in San Francisco, then was followed by another reliever, Brusdar Graterol, before using starter Julio Urías for four innings. In this scenario, Tony Gonsolin will likely handle the bulk of the innings so the Dodgers’ top relievers aren’t too tired for Game 2 on Sunday.
Knebel, who was an All-Star closer during his time with the Milwaukee Brewers, had never started a game in the majors until this season. He has allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings as a starter this season, including the playoffs.
Urias would now line up for Game 4 and the Dodgers would need another bullpen game in Game 5, with Scherzer and Buehler able to play again in Games 6 and 7, respectively.
The Braves and Dodgers established their rosters for the SCLN on Saturday morning, and neither announcement contains many surprises.
For the Dodgers, star first baseman Max Muncy was left off the roster, as expected. Muncy is recovering from an elbow injury suffered during the last game of the Dodgers regular season.
The Braves’ decision to remove slugger Jorge Soler from their SCLN roster was also expected. Soler was delisted during Atlanta’s SDLN victory over Milwaukee after testing positive for COVID. If Soler passes the health and safety protocols, he could still return during the SCLN, at which point he would replace outfielder Cristian Pache, who took Soler’s spot on Atlanta’s SDLN roster.
Veteran left-hander David Price, who did not pitch during the Giants series, and outfielder Billy McKinney were eliminated from the group that comprised the SDLN Dodgers roster. In his place are right-hander Evan Phillips and left-hander Justin Bruihl.
LA will lead 13 pitchers and 13 position players against the Braves.
Atlanta brought out rookie left-hander Dylan Lee, who didn’t pitch during the SDLN round, and pinch-runner Terrance Gore. They added veteran reliever Chris Martin and infielder utility player Johan Camargo.
The Braves will lead 12 pitchers and 14 position players against the Dodgers.
– ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez contributed to this report.