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Dodgers legend Orel Hershiser on pitching in winner-take-all game

Former Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser reacts after throwing the ceremonial first pitch before Game 5 of the NLCS against the Cardinals on Oct. 16, 2013.

Former Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser reacts after throwing the ceremonial first pitch before Game 5 of the NLCS against the Cardinals on Oct. 16, 2013.

(Harry How / Getty Images)

Don’t save pitches for later in the game.

That was Orel Hershiser’s advice to Zack Greinke, the starting pitcher for the Dodgers in Game 5 of their National League division series against the New York Mets.

“I think you have to attack every single batter,” Hershiser said. “I don’t think there’s any holding back on, ‘Should I go to this pitch or should I hold it for the seventh?’ I think you go to the well a lot earlier.”

A broadcaster for SportsNet LA, Hershiser pitched in the Dodgers’ last winner-take-all postseason game, Game 7 of the NL Championship Series in 1988.

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The opponent in that game: The Mets.

The Dodgers will commemorate his shutout in the 6-0 victory in that game by having him deliver the ceremonial first pitch Thursday.

“A regular-season game, you think more about, ‘How do I get to the seventh? I have to protect the bullpen,’” Hershiser said. “You might save a bullet, you might save a pitch sequence.

“One run could actually end your season now, so I wouldn’t save things.”

But couldn’t that make the Dodgers turn to their unreliable bullpen earlier than they want?

“The Dodger bullpen’s fine,” Hershiser said.

What if Greinke is forced out the game, say, in the fifth inning?

“You might get Clayton [Kershaw],” Hershiser replied.


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