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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Dodgers pick Corey Nebel to start NLDS game

SAN FRANCISCO — After 19 regular-season meetings and four more in the postseason, the Dodgers or the San Francisco Giants may do differently in Game 5 of their National League Division Series on Thursday night.

Wonder.

The Dodgers announced Thursday afternoon that right-handed reliever Cory Nebel will start Game 5 against the Giants, not 20-game winner Julio Uriás. Hopefully Nebel will serve as a one- or two-inning “opener”, with Ureas following and pitching the bulk of the game.

The strategy forces the Giants – who aggressively pursue platoon advantages – to make some early decisions about their lineup construction and potentially lose some of those players when left-handed Uriah right. Hands take the place of Nebel.

“I understand it,” Giants third-base coach Ron Votus said Thursday morning on MLB Network. “We are a platoon-based club. They will put the ball in our court and ask us to make a decision. Urea has been very, very good against us and everyone else. So we’ll see how it plays out.”

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In Game 2, when Urea debuted for the Dodgers, there were eight right-handed hitters in the Giants lineup, with shortstop Brandon Crawford being the lone left-handed hitter.

Nebel made four starts this season as an “opener”, making just one run in a total of 5 2/3 innings. The Dodgers won three of those four matches.

The lone loss occurred on September 3 at Oracle Park. Nebel pitched the first two innings of the “bullpen game”. The Dodgers lost in 11 innings when Tree Turner made a poor throw to Will Smith while playing base for the first time in his career.

Ureas restricted the Giants to one run on three hits from five innings in a Game 2 win. Pitching in a variety of roles, he has a 2.13 ERA, holding batsmen at .165 average in over 17 post-season appearances since 2018.

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