The modern postseason pitcher knows his role is dictated by the setting and the circumstances, and the circumstances now shine a bright light on Julio Urías and Ryan Yarbrough in Game 4 of the World Series between the Dodgers and Rays on Saturday night at Globe Life Field.
Just a few days ago, Urías was closing out the Braves with a three-inning victory to secure the National League pennant. Now, he’s got the starting nod, with the chance to take a commanding 3-1 edge.
“It’s an opportunity,” Urías said through an interpreter. “I’m blessed to get another chance to go out there.”
Just a few days ago, Yarbrough was brought into Game 1 of the World Series in a tight spot in the fifth, trying to keep the game close. Now, he’s slated to start and pitch the bulk of the innings as Tampa Bay tries to turn the tide after a 6-2 loss in Game 3.
“I don't think [the two-thirds of an inning in Game 1] will affect me at all, especially because it was a shorter workload,” Yarbrough said. “I feel like I responded really well the next day. I feel good. I'm going to literally throw until they take the ball out of my hands.”
• 7 key storylines for World Series Game 4
Much like pitcher roles can turn on a dime, so, too, can a series tone. That’s what the Rays hope as they head into a Game 4 that is vital for them. Of the 46 teams that have taken a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven World Series, as the Dodgers aim to do, 40 (87%) have gone on to win it all, including 11 of the last 12.
When is the game and how can I watch it?
The game will air on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET/5 PT on FOX. It is also available to stream on MLB.TV with authentication.
Who will be the home team?
The Dodgers, as the top overall seed, were the home team for Games 1 and 2, but the Rays are the home team for Games 3-5 and will bat last.
What do the starting lineups look like?
Dodgers: The only difference between this lineup and what the Dodgers used against Game 2 starter Blake Snell, who no-hit them into the fifth inning, is Enrique Hernández and Chris Taylor are flipped in the eighth and ninth spots. The Dodgers have fared well against left-handers for the most part by sticking with the same top six hitters and loading the bottom of the order with righties. Bellinger, originally slated to start in center field, was moved to DH as a result of lower back stiffness about an hour before first pitch, with Pollock moving from DH to center field.
1) Mookie Betts, RF
2) Corey Seager, SS
3) Justin Turner, 3B
4) Max Muncy, 1B
5) Will Smith, C
6) Cody Bellinger, DH
7) AJ Pollock, CF
8) Chris Taylor, LF
9) Enrique Hernández, 2B
Rays: With a left-hander on the mound, Tampa Bay made some changes to its lineup, starting only two left-handed hitters in Brandon Lowe and Kevin Kiermaier. Díaz steps in as the first baseman, which shifts Mike Brosseau (.333 against southpaws during the regular season) to third base.
1) Yandy Díaz, 1B
2) Randy Arozarena, DH
3) Mike Brosseau, 3B
4) Manuel Margot, LF
5) Brandon Lowe, 2B
6) Willy Adames, SS
7) Hunter Renfroe, RF
8) Mike Zunino, C
9) Kevin Kiermaier, CF
Who are the starting pitchers?
Dodgers: Urías is the Swiss Army Knife of the pitching staff. He starts this game, having pitched three scoreless innings in relief for the win in Game 7 on Sunday -- after throwing five innings in a start four days before that, and five innings in relief six days before that.
Rays: Yarbrough gets the start for Tampa Bay, in what will be the most important outing of his young career. The left-hander has experience as a starter and a bulk guy following an opener, but the Rays will let Yarbrough start the game for the second time this postseason. Yarbrough threw 19 pitches in two-thirds of an inning in Game 1 of the World Series, but he should be fully rested.
How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Dodgers: After Thursday’s off-day, the Dodgers tuned up Blake Treinen, Brusdar Graterol and Kenley Jansen with one inning each in Game 3. They are available, as is everyone else.
Rays: Manager Kevin Cash will be a busy man in Game 4 as Tampa Bay will lean heavily on the bullpen. The Rays will try to get Yarbrough through the Dodgers’ lineup one time and then hand it off to a rested bullpen. Nick Anderson, Pete Fairbanks and Diego Castillo are all available to pitch multiple innings. Ryan Thompson, who threw only six pitches in a scoreless frame in Game 3, also will be available.
Are there any relievers who are unavailable?
Rays: John Curtiss threw 30 pitches in Game 3, so Tampa Bay will likely try and stay away from the right-hander. Shane McClanahan threw 26 pitches in the ninth, and the left-hander will likely not be called upon in Game 4. Other than that, the Rays should be well-rested.
Any injuries of note?
Who is hot and who is not?
Dodgers: Turner, who hasn’t been his usual October self, is heating up after making an adjustment and said he’s feeling right for the first time in a while, which is bad news for the Rays. Muncy reached base three times in Game 3, and it seems like every time Betts reaches first base, he steals second. Taylor has struck out seven times in his last nine at-bats.
Rays: Arozarena hit his eighth home run of the postseason on Friday, tying Nelson Cruz, Carlos Beltrán and Barry Bonds for most homers in a single postseason. That’s not all. Arozarena also now holds the record with 52 total bases in a single postseason, surpassing David Freese, who finished with 50 in 2011. The Rays' outfielder also passed Derek Jeter for most hits by a rookie in a single postseason with 23.
• 7 Rays who could play World Series hero
Anything else fans want to know?
Dodgers: Los Angeles' 48 two-out RBIs this postseason surpasses the previous record of 45 held by the 2004 Boston Red Sox for the most in a single postseason since 1999, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Rays: With his appearance in Game 3, McClanahan became the second player in Major League history to appear in a World Series game before appearing in a regular-season contest, joining Adalberto Mondesi of the Royals in 2015.
Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.
Juan Toribio covers the Rays for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @juanctoribio.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.