Corey Knebel Starts Game 5 of Dodgers vs. Giants NLDS: How Reliever’s Outing Compares to Other Debuts
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
The Los Angeles Dodgers have tabbed reliever Corey Knebel as their opener for Thursday’s do-or-die Game 5 against the San Francisco Giants.
Left-hander Julio Urias is slated to follow suit and take a starter’s workload — whenever that may be.
If it sounds like an unconventional approach, it’s because it is.
Knebel’s only the 15th player since 1969 to make his first career playoff start in a sudden-death game. The previous 14 compiled a sub-.500 mark of 6-8.
Pitchers Making 1st Ever Winner-Take-All Playoff Start
|2020||Dane Dunning (White Sox)||L, 4-6|
|2019||Sean Manaea (A’s)||L, 1-5|
|2018||Kyle Freeland (Rockies)||W, 2-1|
|2017||Jon Gray (Rockies)||L, 8-11|
|2017||Luis Severino (Yankees)||W, 8-4|
|2015||Jake Arrieta (Cubs)||W, 4-0|
|2015||Dallas Keuchel (Astros)||W, 3-0|
|2015||Masahiro Tanaka (Yankees)||L, 3-0|
|2013||Alex Cobb (Rays)||W, 4-0|
|2013||Danny Salazar (Indians)||L, 0-4|
|2012||Yu Darvish (Rangers)||L, 1-5|
|2012||Kris Medlen (Braves)||L, 3-6|
|1980||Marty Bystrom (Phillies)||W, 8-7|
|1973||Doyle Alexander (Orioles)||L, 0-3|
Three of the last four have lost, while Freeland, the lone winner over that sample, squeaked out a narrow 2-1 win in a pitcher’s duel against the Cubs.
The Giants are -115 for Thursday’s tilt at DraftKings, with the Dodgers listed -105. The total, meanwhile, has climbed from 6.5 to 7.
Knebel, who’s in his first season with the Dodgers, was last used in Game 2. He struck out two San Francisco hitters during a clean inning of work.
L.A. forced the Game 5 with a 7-2 win on Tuesday, closing as a heavy -188 favorite.