Obviously, you know the NLDS game five starter. Of course, it’s Walker Buehler; the unbeaten hurler in winner-take-all match-ups.
However, something interesting arises in the wake of the Dodgers’ NLDS game four defeat at Nationals Park in Washington. Remember back in March when the Dodgers toyed with the idea of ‘piggybacking’ Buehler in a start with Clayton Kershaw? Ironically, this scenario could play out in one of the season’s final chapters.
Furthermore, Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts was asked of Kershaw’s usage in the upcoming series finale. Bill Plunkett of the OC Register has it for us.
#Dodgers Dave Roberts on Kershaw availability in Game 5: “Piggybacking with Walker at some point that’s the thought”
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) October 8, 2019
Indeed, it’s on the table for the Dodgers to use Kershaw. While that seems rather obvious that the Dodgers would go to their scariest weapon after Buehler is finished – it sounds like relative certainty. First, you’re going to see Buehler take it as long as he can go. Then, the plan is to bring in Kershaw; who threw six innings in game two.
“Piggybacking with Walker at some point that’s the thought.”
Surely, an elimination game is stressful for all parties involved. However, there are two elements in play that should give Dodgers’ backers a degree of confidence.
One is 5-0 lifetime in elimination game scenarios. The other is a three-time Cy Young Award winner who will be a future Hall of Fame pitcher.
Finally, Kershaw has two elimination game relief appearances of recent record. In each of those contests he didn’t allow a run. The first was game seven of the 2017 World Series against Houston, spanning four innings. The second was game seven of the 2018 NLCS against Milwaukee where he closed out a 5-1 win without allowing allowing a batter to reach.
It will be all hands on deck, and the first two mates of the ship are Buehler and Kershaw.