Nine hands on deck for Dodgers in NLDS Game 5

Kenley Jansen catches a flip throw from Chase Utley and records the final out of NLDS Game 4.

Kenley Jansen catches a flip throw from Chase Utley and records the final out of NLDS Game 4.

By Jon Weisman

Nine innings separate the Dodgers from the National League Championship Series.

And nine arms will be available for Dave Roberts to try to push them there.

Though it’s not yet official, Rich Hill, who threw 82 pitches in Sunday’s Game 2, is expected to get the Game 5 start Thursday on three days’ rest for the Dodgers when they meet the Nationals in Game 5 of the National League Division Series. But a rested Julio Urías is also available for an early entrance.

And behind them, with Wednesday’s flight to Washington serving as the best possible spa day under the circumstances, will be relievers Grant Dayton, Josh Fields, Ross Stripling, Pedro Baez, Luis Avilan, Joe Blanton and Kenley Jansen. Seven brothers to avoid being bridesmaids.

“We didn’t use Julio, so it’s going to be a collection of arms,” Roberts said after tonight’s 6-5 Game 4 win. “We talked about Rich as an option, obviously. … But it’s nice now that we didn’t have to go to Julio. We’ve got some guys in the pen that didn’t pitch today, so we’ve got some good options.”

Asked if he had advice for Hill, the Dodgers’ go-to man on three days’ rest, Clayton Kershaw, countered with a vote of confidence.

“Rich will be fine,” Kershaw said. “I don’t think there’s anything I can tell him. He’s as competitive as they come. If you want to be out there, you’ll be fine, is what it comes down to, and I think he wants to be out there.”

Washington will counter with no-holds-barred pitching staff, the difference being that instead of a two-headed starter combo like the Dodgers have with Hill and Urías, they will go back to potential NL Cy Young winner (but Game 1 losing pitcher) Max Scherzer.

“It’s not going to be easy,” Kershaw said. “Scherzer’s one of the best for a reason, and I don’t even know what our situation is, but we’re a team, and we’re gonna go there and try to keep doing what we’ve been doing.”

Said Scherzer: “This is going to be a heck of a ballgame. The effort from both sides over the first four games has been incredible. We’ve seen unbelievable baseball from both sides: great pitching, great hitting, defense, everything. In Game 5, anything can happen.”


It really has been a good series outside some bad moments. On paper the Nats have the favorable pitching matchup, but the game isn’t played on paper.

All I can say is, may the best team win because it will take a very good team to beat the Cubs.

I believe the Dodgers can do it if they advance. Kershaw will probably go in game 2 on normal rest, Hill in game 3 on normal rest. Urias for sure in game 4. Then it depends on where series stands if Kershaw and/or Hill need to be used on short rest. Maeda has to go in game 1. Hopefully he does well and game 5 won’t be a tough choice.

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