The Dodgers World Series hopes to defeat the San Francisco Giants in Game 5 of the National League Division Series on Thursday. One loss and their season is over. One win and they went on to play the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS. Those scenarios often yield an all-hands-on-deck pitching approach.
In this case, it would involve providing Max Scherzer from the bullpen on two days’ rest. But Dodgers manager Dave Roberts reiterated Thursday that he does not envision Scherzer pitching in the game.
“It’s highly unlikely,” Roberts said. “The goal is still to win the World Series and Max Starting Game 1 in the NLCS, if we get there, increase that chance, but obviously I’m not immune to the fact that unless you win the game, then Till you won’t get there. 5.”
Scherzer was dominant in his Game 3 debut on Monday, putting the Giants one run on three hits with 10 strikeouts in a 1-0 loss in seven innings. It was a rebound performance after three subpar outings to close the regular season and start the playoffs.
The 37-year-old right-handed batsman, who was acquired from the Washington Nationals at the trade deadline on July 30, has experience in relieving these situations. It just wasn’t a good experience. Scherzer, then with the Nationals, dropped four runs (two earned) in an innings of relief in Game 5 of the 2017 NLDS against the Chicago Cubs. The Nationals suffered a 9–8 defeat and were eliminated that night.
His last postseason relief appearance was in Game 2 of the 2019 NLDS against the Dodgers. He played the eighth inning with three strikeouts for the Nations in a 4–2 victory at Dodgers Stadium.
Scherzer may have pitched his last game as the Dodgers if he doesn’t take the mound on Thursday. He is a free agent season after season and, despite his age, is expected to be the most coveted pitcher on the market after another Cy Young award-caliber season.
“How he feels matters because he still has to be dominant,” Roberts said. “So, we’re going to have a conversation with him, I’m sure, today, tomorrow, and sort of measure it. But we’re not going to put pressure on him in any way and put him in a position that we’re not going to be in the whole world.” Don’t feel comfortable on board.”
Julio Uriás will start with Giants right-hander Logan Webb for the Dodgers on Thursday. Uriyas conceded one run and bowled just 72 pitches in five innings in Game 2. Webb made 7 2/3 scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts in his playoff debut in Game 1.