As of this moment, 10:15 AM EDT in D.C., the Los Angeles Dodgers have not committed to a starter for tonight’s Game 5 of the NLDS in Washington.
Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts told reporters after LA’s win in Game 4 that whichever pitcher starts, it’s likely that both Rich Hill and Julio Urias, the two most-likely options, will see some action in the win-or-go-home finale of the best-of-five series.
“That's fair. That's fair,” Roberts said. “I think the off-day is huge for us, just to reset for Game 5, and also, just to kind of get our guys in the pen to reset and get back to -- you know, recover from that off-day, yeah.”
Roberts also said he thought his team was up for the challenge of playing Game 5 on the road, though the Dodgers were far better at home (53-28) than they were away from LA this season (38-43). He said he knew his team would come ready to play with the season on the line for the second straight game.
“Yeah, that goes without saying that they will be prepared,” Roberts said, after the Dodgers blew a 5-2 lead late, but took Game 4, 6-5.
“But us playing on the road to win one game, and I like our guys. I think that we've been up against some adversities this year, but even when they came back and scored the three runs to tie it, there was no quit in us. You know, just guys having big at-bats.”
Dusty Baker, with the Nationals up 2-1 after taking Game 3 in LA, had the luxury of holding his ace back so that Max Scherzer could pitch on regular rest in Game 5 if necessary.
“Yeah, well, you're never really comfortable until the game is over,” he said.
“But we do have Max. They hit him pretty hard early in the game. We have Max and we have our home fans, the way they had their home fans here.
“That's why you play so hard for the home-field advantage. You know, this year, it's coming to fruition.”
Scherzer gave up five hits (two home runs) and four runs total in the Nationals’ 4-3 loss in the series opener with the Dodgers, but he said he was excited to get back on the mound in Game 5.
“This is going to be a heck of a ballgame,” Scherzer told reporters after Game 4 in LA.
“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, and you've just got to go out there and execute your pitches.”
Scherzer clearly recognizes the situation he’s in going into Game 5, with the season on the line.
“This is probably the biggest start of my career, the biggest start of my life,” he said, as quoted by MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo.
“How you handle that, going out there and using that emotion of that scenario that’s everything on the line. Look, I’m not going to shy away from it, this is the biggest start of my career.”
“Anything can happen in Game 5,” Scherzer added.
“So you’ve got to be ready for anything and everything. Be able to go out there and win every type of game. Every inning, every pitch, you’ve got to have the utmost focus and execute your pitches, because anything can happen in a one-game playoff.”