Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Corey Knebel, shown Sept. 7, 2021, will replace left-hander Julio Urias as the Dodgers' starter for Game 5 against the San Francisco Giants. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 14 (UPI) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers are starting right-handed reliever Corey Knebel instead of left-handed starter Julio Urias against the San Francisco Giants in Thursday's winner-take-all Game 5 of the National League Division Series.
Urias isn't dealing with an injury, which means that Knebel will likely serve as an opener, paving the way for Urias to pitch the bulk of the innings in the decisive matchup.
"Corey's a guy that I expected to pitch tonight, and just changing up when he pitches is a part of it," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who sent a courtesy text to Giants skipper Gabe Kapler on Wednesday to inform him of the decision.
"The Giants have been a tremendous ballclub all year, and just speaking to the offensive side, they have been the best team in baseball as far as getting matchup advantages, platoon advantages. This potentially gives us some matchups going forward throughout the game."
The Giants stacked their right-handed hitters at the top of the lineup against Urias during Game 2 of the NLDS. With Knebel starting Thursday night, the Giants' platoon advantage in the first inning would be taken away.
Urias will be on four days' rest for Game 5 against the Giants and can handle a traditional workload.
The Giants, meanwhile, will start Logan Webb against the Dodgers. He threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings in Game 1 of the series.