Washington Nationals: What To Watch For In Game 5 Of NLDS

Oct 7, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the third inning during game one of the 2016 NLDS playoff baseball series at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 7, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the third inning during game one of the 2016 NLDS playoff baseball series at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /
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Oct 9, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Rich Hill (44) pitches against the Washington Nationals during the fourth inning during game two of the 2016 NLDS playoff baseball series at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

Rich Hill/Julio Urias Combination?

While I agree with Roberts bringing Kershaw back on short rest for Game 4, he will have to be creative with the use of his pitchers in Game 5 tonight. Right now, the plan is to start Rich Hill (Game 2 starter) on short rest. Hill has only done that once during his career.

Back in 2009, Hill started on short rest for the Orioles in July 21 after going 1/3 of an inning in relief in his previous outing. In that start, Hill needed 82 pitches to finish three innings. No one should expect Hill to go deep into this game like Kershaw did Tuesday if the Washington Nationals can work up the pitch count.

In Game 2, Hill went 4.1 innings, gave up four runs on six hits, struck out seven, and walked two on 82 pitches (47 strikes) in the loss. Hill had seven strikeouts in the first three innings, but he hung a breaking ball to Jose Lobaton in the fourth and the Nats catcher made him pay for it.

The 36-year-old left-hander did have good success with his breaking ball in Game 2. According to Brooks Baseball, he threw 25 of his 41 curveballs for strikes.

As for Urias, the 20-year-old has never pitched in a postseason game, so you wounder if he might overthrow pitches and be too amped up. Joe Ross was in his first playoff game Tuesday and did not show the same poise that fans are used to seeing from him.

Urias has never pitched on this bright of a stage, but he has done a good job against the Washington Nationals this season. In two starts against the Nats, he gave up three runs and struck out ten in nine innings. The only two players who drove in a run against him were Bryce Harper and Danny Espinosa.

Now, the innings won’t be an issue for Urias, but keep in mind he threw fewer than 60 pitches in each of his final two starts of the season and he only threw 7.2 combined innings in his last three starts. With that being said, the goal for Hill and Urias will be to keep the Dodgers offense in the game and hand it to Kenley Jansen with a lead for possibly six outs.