'This is what baseball wants': Dodgers vs. Giants in Game 5

10/14/2021 2:59:22 PM EST

The Los Angeles Dodgers tossed a curveball into the mix by naming right-hander Corey Knebel as their starting pitcher for Thursday night's decisive Game 5 of the National League Division Series against the host San Francisco Giants.

Knebel (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will take the ball and serve as the presumptive opener in place of scheduled starter Julio Urias, who allowed one run on three hits in five innings to earn the victory in Game 2.

Knebel, 29, struck out two batters in one scoreless inning of relief in that game to help Los Angeles secure a 9-2 win on Saturday.

MLB Network reported Thursday afternoon that Urias was accepting of whatever role was required of him for Game 5.

The NL West rivals traded wins over the next two games to set up the pivotal clash. The winner advances to the NL Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves, while the loser will have nothing but a week's worth of playoff experience to show for one of the greatest two-team duels in baseball history.

San Francisco right-hander Logan Webb (1-0, 0.00) will get the start on Thursday.

Webb, 24, scattered five hits and struck out 10 in 7 2/3 innings of a 4-0 win in Game 1 on Friday. He posted an 11-3 record with a 3.03 ERA in 27 appearances (26 starts) this season.

Knebel was 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA in 27 appearances (four starts) this season. He owns a 10-11 record with a 3.23 ERA in 266 career appearances (four starts) with the Detroit Tigers, Milwaukee Brewers and Dodgers.

While the Giants have captured the close games and the Dodgers posted lopsided victories, each club was left Wednesday on their off day wondering how to handle the other's red-hot pitcher in a win-or-pack-the-gear showdown.

"This is what baseball wants," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after his team's stay-alive win in Game 4. "We're going to be the only show in town. So if you have a pulse or you're a sports fan, you better be watching Dodgers-Giants. It's going to be a great one."

While Roberts left Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night confident his guys had solved the Giants' pitching, rival manager Gabe Kapler assured reporters that he and his staff still had homework to do in preparation for what they thought would be a start by Urias.

"That's going to take some planning and conversation. I'm happy to discuss that with the guys," Kapler said. "We're going to take a look at the last game against Urias and make adjustments accordingly."

The Giants had their chances against the 20-win left-hander in their last matchup Saturday.

Austin Slater hit a ground-rule double in the first inning; the Giants put two on with no outs in the second, scoring once on a Donovan Solano sacrifice fly; then Buster Posey provided a leadoff double in the fourth.

But besides that sac fly, the Giants went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position in Urias' five innings. He won for the 12th straight time since June 21, an 18-game stretch in which the Dodgers have gone 16-2.

The Dodgers got just three baserunners into scoring position in Webb's 7 2/3 innings in Friday's opener, one the result of a first-inning error.

By the time Corey Seager and Will Smith had doubled in the sixth and seventh innings, the Giants had built a 2-0 lead and Webb was on the way to his 11th straight win dating to May 11.

San Francisco has gone 19-2 in those games.

Neither team will have its standout first baseman available again, with San Francisco's Brandon Belt (broken thumb) and Los Angeles' Max Muncy (dislocated elbow) relegated to cheerleading.

But the status of the rest of the rosters isn't as equal, as Giants second baseman Tommy La Stella is battling a sore Achilles and Kapler has been prompted into making 10 pitching changes in the past two games, resulting in a taxed bunch.

The Dodgers are coming off a game in which six different players got two hits, while Roberts has had to go to the bullpen just seven times in the past two games.

--Field Level Media

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