- The Dodgers look to take a 3-2 series lead in the NLCS Wednesday night in LA
- Los Angeles tied the series on Tuesday, winning Game 4 in extra-innings
- Wade Miley looks to continue his 2018 success, while Clayton Kershaw battles his branding as a postseason under-achiever
After an agonizingly long Game 4, the Dodgers are back in the NLCS.
Despite missed opportunity after missed opportunity, Manny Machado and Cody Bellinger eventually connected on the extra-innings walk off. With the possibility of staring a 3-1 series deficit in the face, LA has now tied things up at two games apiece.
— MLB (@MLB) October 17, 2018
Now they send their ace to the hill in hopes that he can shrug off a shoddy Game 1. If he can, the Dodgers will be a game away from going back to the World Series.
Brewers vs Dodgers Game 5 Odds
|MIL +1.5 (-140)||+153||O 7.0 (-120)|
|LAD -1.5 (+120)||-178||U 7.0 (EVEN)|
Odds taken on Oct 17.
After NLCS marathon, can Brewers or Dodgers heat up?
The Dodgers’ offense has gone cold.
After scoring nine runs in the first two games of the NLCS, they scored just 3 runs in 22 innings in Games 3 and 4. LA also scored at least five runs in three of their four games in the NLDS.
If they want to make it back to the World Series, they need to have a big Game 5.
Including Game 4, the Brewers have at least eight hits in each game of the NLCS.
Both teams struggled last night. The Brewers struck out 15 times, while the Dodgers whiffed 17 times. The two combined to leave 48 runners on base.
But with who each team is starting and the condition of their bullpens, both sides may be primed to score some runs.
Dodgers turn to Kershaw in key spot
There were questions surrounding the Dodgers decision to bump Kershaw back in the NLDS. Now, he’s set to take the ball in the biggest game of LA’s season.
Kershaw has long been an enigma when it comes to October baseball. Spectacular during the regular season, the 30-year has had a playoff career with more ups than downs.
He has started to turn it around though.
Entering Friday, Clayton Kershaw was 3-0 with a 2.93 ERA in his last 5 postseason starts.
This was his shortest start of his playoff career (3+ IP)
Kershaw allowed the 4th HR to a pitcher (1st in playoffs) of his career:
Madison Bumgarner – 2015 & 2016
Tyson Ross – last month pic.twitter.com/iPuIGpFThp
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 13, 2018
In this postseason alone, Kershaw turned in eight innings of shutout ball in the NLDS. He then followed it up with a clunker. Five runs (four earned) in Game 1 against Milwaukee.
So who will we see on Wednesday?
Well if it’s the Kershaw Milwaukee saw during the regular season, the Dodgers can pencil in a W.
Kershaw started against the Brewers twice in 2018. Despite getting tagged in with a loss in the first meeting, he struck out five in six innings. What did him in was the unearned runs, as three Dodgers’ errors left him allowing four total. Just one was earned.
Their second meeting was even more Kershaw-like. Five hits over six innings, two earned runs and seven strikeouts.
Kershaw’s legacy could very well hinge on this start. And the fact we don’t know what to expect out of him is troublesome.
Does Miley have more left in the tank?
Entering this season, Wade Miley had never finished with an ERA below 3.30. His best was 3.33 in 2012. This year? It was 2.57 across 16 starts.
He also set career lows in hits per nine innings and home runs per nine innings.
— NBC Sports Radio (@NBCSportsRadio) October 16, 2018
That form shone through in Game 2. He navigated 5.2 scoreless innings, striking out three with no walks. A taxed Brewers bullpen blew it, but the veteran proved he’s ready for the moment.
So can he do it again in Game 5?
He should be able to give the Brewers four innings of low-scoring ball. He did it against Colorado (4.2 innings) and against LA. But he likely won’t be going longer than five or six innings.
Then it becomes a bullpen game.
Which bullpen has the advantage?
The big disadvantage that the Brewers will have in Game 5, is a taxed bullpen.
Especially if Miley is only going to make it through the lineup twice.
|Team||Bullpen IP Game 1||Game 2||Game 3||Game 4|
Gio Gonzalez’s ankle injury turned both of his starts into bullpen games.
Whether he’s hot or cold, Kershaw can eat innings if the Dodgers need him to.
Gio Gonzalez has to exit his start in the second inning after rolling his ankle
The Brewers' bullpen has its work cut out for it tonight pic.twitter.com/M96kJyTF5o
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) October 17, 2018
There’s nothing to indicate that Miley, who has gone seven full innings just twice this year, can.
The Brewers have used at least four relievers in each game of the NLCS. In terms of key relievers, Corey Knebel has thrown in all four games so far for Milwaukee. Josh Hader, Jeremy Jeffress and Joakim Soria have all appeared in three of the four games.
For the Dodgers, Kenta Maeda and Ryan Madson have pitched in three games. Kenley Jansen has appeared in two games, but threw two innings in Game 4.
Who pulls ahead in the NLCS?
After the Dodgers were shut out in Game 3 and Game 4 was the lowest scoring game of the series, are we destined for another tight one?
The Dodgers left nine runners on base in Game 4. They were also 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position. Expect these two to hit the over after seven combined runs the last two games.
While Kershaw won’t be dominant, but he’ll be good enough. Take the over as the Dodgers’ bats come alive to pull ahead in the NLCS.
Prediction: Dodgers 7, Brewers 3
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