Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
After an embarrassing 11-2 loss in Game 1 of the National League Division Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers find themselves in a near must-win situation against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday night.
Bobby Miller will be on the mound for his first career postseason start, and he’s going up against the Diamondbacks ace Zac Gallen. A win in would set up a crucial Game 3, where a 2-1 series lead would be on the line, while a loss would put the Dodgers on the brink of elimination.
Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to go in a potential Game 4 despite his disastrous start in the series opener, but to get to that point, the Dodgers must win at least one of their next two games. They are arguably the most important in the series, so Dodgers manager Dave Roberts plans to manage them like must-win games.
“For me, that’s the best option, and I see it as the only option,” Roberts said of Kershaw starting Game 4. “So I’m going to manage Game 2 like it’s Game 7. And I’m going to do the same thing for Game 3. And I do think that that’s kind of how the fallout will be.
“But, again, could things change? Possibly, yeah. But I’ve still got all the confidence in our guys preventing runs and using them in the right way and the best possible way to win baseball games. But, yeah, I think the fallout is Clayton going to start Game 4.”
The Dodgers have one more game at Dodger Stadium before heading to Arizona to potentially play two games at Chase Field. Game 5 would be held at Dodger Stadium if necessary, where it’s likely Miller would make his second start of the NLDS.
Roberts has previously discussed the need for the Dodgers to play with a heightened sense of determination in the playoffs, rather than carrying their same energy from the regular season. That will be important to have in Games 2 and 3 when everything will be magnified to the fullest.
“I think if I can say one thing that might be tangible is, I am going to push the urgency part of the postseason,” Roberts recently said. “I think in one sense I believe there’s a certain way you play baseball, and the natural emotions and adrenaline will manifest themselves in the postseason. I do think with some players that’s the case.
“But I do think I’m going to push it a little bit more this year. As a manager, you don’t ever want to feel a player saying you’re panicking or all this stuff, so you’ve got to find that balance. But the postseason is a sprint. We learned last year that it happened really quick and we’re packing our bags.
“I think our guys prepare and understand what’s at stake, so we’re going to play with a sense of urgency. We need to.”
While a loss in Game 2 wouldn’t eliminate the Dodgers from the postseason, it would put them on an uphill climb that would likely be too much to overcome with the club needing everything to go right in three straight games.
Dodgers unsure of pitching plans for Game 3
Ryan Pepiot and Lance Lynn are both options to pitch in Game 3, but neither of them have a set role yet. Pepiot has more experience out of the bullpen than Lynn and seems more equipped to handle it, but he is also the better option to start as well.
Their decision may ultimately be based on the outcome of Game 2 with how they want to manage the staff moving forward.
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