Dodgers will start Knebel in Game 5, possibly throwing off SF's lineup

Dodgers will start Knebel in Game 5, possibly throwing off SF's lineup

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias reacts during the second inning of Game 2 of a baseball National League Division Series against the San Francisco Giants Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in San Francisco.

John Hefti/AP

In a surprise move, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced that reliever Corey Knebel will start Game 5 on the NLDS vs. the San Francisco Giants Thursday night — a game widely expected to be started by the Dodgers' 20-game winner, Julio Urias.

The left-handed Urias is healthy, and the move was likely made to prevent the Giants from loading up the top of their lineup with right-handed batters as they did against Urias in Game 2. Knebel, who has started four games this season, figures to give way to Urias at some point early in the game.

Los Angeles' announcement came seven hours ahead of the first pitch, and it will be fascinating to see how Giants manager Gabe Kapler responds. In Game 2, Kapler went with Darin Ruf, Kris Bryant, Austin Slater and Buster Posey — all right-handed batters — at the top of the lineup. Ruf and Slater were then replaced by the left-handed Mike Yastrzemski and LaMonte Wade Jr. later in the game.

In his career, Knebel has never pitched more than two innings in any outing, which likely serves an indicator of how long he lasts before manager Dave Roberts switches to Urias.

Knebel has appeared in only one game this series (Game 2) and pitched a scoreless inning while striking out two.

Game 5 gets underway at 6:07 p.m. at Oracle Park. At 24 years old, Logan Webb will start for the Giants, making him the youngest Giant in history to start a winner-take-all playoff game.