Dodgers manager Dave Roberts declined the opportunity to definitively name his game seven starter after tonight’s win, per J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group and others (via Twitter).
Tony Gonsolin lines up for the job after stepping in to start game two for Clayton Kershaw. Gonsolin is not the guy the Dodgers would plan in a vacuum to take the ball in a must-win moment, but he nonetheless remains the most likely to see chunk innings tomorrow night, per MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick (via Twitter). The 26-year-old Gonsolin served as as swingman the past two seasons for the Dodgers, performing ably to a 2.60 ERA/3.02 FIP across 86 2/3 innings. His game two start was his first and only postseason appearance, however. He lasted 4 1/3 innings, giving up 5 earned runs on 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 7.
Kershaw will be on just two days rest after back spasms scratched him from his originally-scheduled game two start. Roberts will check in with him tomorrow to see about the possibility of appearing in relief, notes Gurnick. Kershaw in relief hasn’t always ended the way the Dodgers would have liked, including last postseason when he surrendered back-to-back home runs to Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto to tie a similar win-or-go-home game five of the NLDS. Still, he’s a weapon if he’s available. In that same game against the Nationals, remember, he entered the game to retire Adam Eaton – which he did, via strikeout. It was only when pushed to another inning that the Nats’ big guns got the best of him.
The Dodgers could turn to Julio Urías in a similar capacity, though Urías would be throwing on three days rest after tossing over 100 pitches in game three’s shellacking. After tonight, Walker Buehler is probably the only arm on the roster who is absolutely outside the realm of possibility. Closer Kenley Jansen could also be a difficult call. He’s returned to form, but an outing tomorrow night would be three consecutive games and four in the last five.
Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register put forth an interesting suggestion (via Twitter): Brusdar Graterol could function as an opener to be followed by Gonsolin and Urías. The hard-throwing Graterol has to be pretty high up the list in terms of likelihood of seeing action – especially since he didn’t make his way into game six. Putting him out there to start the game would certainly be interesting. He was a starter for most of his minor league career with the Twins, after all.