Los Angeles Dodgers to start reliever Corey Knebel in NLCS Game 1 vs Atlanta Braves

ATLANTA – The Los Angeles Dodgers will start the right handed lifter Corey Knebel and apparently set up a bullpen match in the first game of their National League Championship series against the Atlanta Braves Saturday night, a direct reflection of what it took to overcome the Giants of San Francisco in the previous round.

The decision would presumably push Max Scherzer back to start Sunday’s Game 2, giving him an extra day after pitching the final round of the NL Division series on Thursday. In this scenario, Walker Buehler would kick off LA Game 3 on Tuesday, giving Buehler six days off after his short break start in NLDS Game 4.

Knebel has opened five times this season, including the deciding NLDS game on Thursday. Knebel took the first round of Oracle Park in San Francisco, then was followed by another reliever, Brusdar graterol, before launching the launcher Julio Urias contributed four innings. In this scenario, Tony Gonsolin will likely handle loose ends so the Dodgers’ top relievers don’t get too tired for Sunday’s Game 2.

A former All-Star closer during his time with the Milwaukee Brewers, Knebel had never started a game in the majors until this season. He allowed a run in 6 2/3 innings in the opener this season, including the playoffs.

Urias now lines up for Game 4 and the Dodgers would need another reliever box game in Game 5, with Scherzer and Buehler able to restart in Games 6 and 7, respectively.

The Braves and Dodgers both made their rosters for the NLCS on Saturday morning, with no announcements containing many surprises.

For the Dodgers, All-Star first baseman Max Muncy was ruled out, as expected. Muncy is treating an elbow injury suffered in the Dodgers’ last game of the regular season.

The Braves’ decision to quit the slugger was also expected Jorge soler off their NLCS list. Soler was taken off the list in Atlanta’s NLDS win over Milwaukee after testing positive for COVID. If Soler clears the health and safety protocols, he can always come back during the NLCS, at which time he would replace the outfielder. Cristian Pache, who took Soler’s spot on Atlanta’s NLDS roster.

Veteran southpaw David Price, who did not pitch during the Giants’ series, and outfielder Billy McKinney were removed from the squad which included the Dodgers NLDS roster. In their place are right Evan phillips and left-handed Justin bruihl.

LA will carry 13 pitchers and 13 position players against the Braves.

Atlanta dropped rookie southpaw Dylan Lee, who didn’t pitch in the NLDS round, and pinch runner Terrance Gore. veteran lifter Chris Martin and utility infielder Jean Camargo have been added.

The Braves will carry 12 pitchers and 14 position players against the Dodgers.

–Alden Gonzalez of ESPN contributed to this report.

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