There was no rest for the Dodgers and Brewers in game 5 of the NLCS on Wednesday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. After playing 13 innings and over 5 hours the two clubs were at it again with an early 2:05 PM PST mid day start time. Much like game 5 of the 1988 NLCS which started at noon EST. The Dodgers had to deplete all of their available resources to pull out a thrilling 2-1 victory to tie the NLCS at 2-2. This afternoon the Dodgers would look to take a 3-2 series lead in the final home game of the series at Chavez Ravine.
The Dodgers gave the ball to Clayton Kershaw. People were already talking about his fractured legacy. If Kershaw throws a good start, does it finally remove the narrative of his postseason failures? What if he doesn’t have a good outing? Kershaw lasted just three innings back in game 1 in Milwaukee. Would he be able to redeem himself?
The answer we quickly found out was a resounding yes. Kershaw turned in a dominant performance tossing seven innings of one-run ball while striking out nine. He also had two walks and scored a run at the plate to help the Dodgers beat the Brewers 5-2, and take a 3-2 NLCS lead. The Dodgers rallied from a 1-0 deficit to score one run in the fifth, two in the sixth, and two more runs in the seventh. The bats while not hitting any home runs, found their stroke with RBI singles from Austin Barnes, Max Muncy, and Justin Turner. The Dodger bullpen provided two effective frames (they’ve been fantastic) and the Dodgers won.
NLCS Game 5 Dodgers Lead 3-2
Brewers 2 5 1
Dodgers 5 9 0
In the top of the first, Kershaw gives up a sinking shallow liner to center off the bat of Lorenzo Cain. Bellinger made a diving trap of the ball, although replays showed that he may have caught it. The Dodgers lost that replay, but Kershaw got Christian Yelich to line out to Bellinger. Then Cain is thrown out trying to steal second as his hand came off the bag. Ryan Braun would strike out to end the inning.
Milwaukee’s bullpen strategy quickly backfired as there was drama right away in first inning. Wade Miley, the announced starter pitched to one batter, walking lead-off man Cody Bellinger. He was hooked quickly after and Dodger kryptonite Brad Woodruff (the Dodgers would finally get to him later) was brought in. He would hit Justin Turner with a pitch to put runners on first and second. But David Freese would strike out, and Manny Machado would ground into an inning ending double play.
Kershaw and Woodruff both pitch quiet second innings, but Kershaw runs into trouble in the third. With one out, Orlando Arcia, (the Dodger nemesis) singles, and Kershaw walks Woodruff. For the record Kershaw has not been able to retire Woodruff who homered off of him in game 1. Then Cain doubles over Bellinger’s head to score Arcia and give the Brewers a 1-0 lead. Kershaw whiffs Yelich for a big out, but walks Braun to load the bases. After an intense battle with Jesus Aguilar, he gets him fishing on a low and away breaking ball.
Kershaw and the Dodgers get through the fourth without issue, thanks to a replay review going their way. Still without a hit, Joc Pederson leads off the bottom of the fourth with a flare single to right. Unfortunately the Dodgers can’t score him. Machado’s ground ball double play and a Muncy strikeout ruined that chance.
Kershaw gets a 123 top of the fifth, finally retiring Woodruff (strikeout) and also striking out Cain. The Dodgers catch a break in the bottom of the fifth. Chris Taylor reaches on a dribble towards the mound. Arcia charges and makes an off balance thrown, but it’s wide allowing Taylor to go to second. That throwing gaffe was important. With Enrique Hernandez at the plate, Taylor steals third without a throw. Hernandez struck out and the Dodgers have to turn to Barnes, who delivers with a base hit into center to score Taylor. That ties the score at 1-1. Kershaw sacrifices Barnes to second, but Bellinger whiffs and Milwaukee gets out of the inning.
Kershaw cruised through the top of the sixth and the Dodgers got to Woodruff again in the bottom half of the sixth to take the lead. Justin Turner singled, and Machado was hit by a pitch. Max Muncy’s RBI single, a trickler into left field scores Turner to give the Dodgers a 2-1 advantage. Corbin Burnes is called in and strikes out Taylor, but pinch-hitter Yasiel Puig singles to center to score Machado and put the Dodgers ahead 3-1. Muncy gets caught into a rundown for the third out, but the damage has been done.
Kershaw once again rolled through the top of the seventh without issue. Kershaw’s final line read 7 innings, one earned run on three hits, two walks and nine strikeouts. He made 98 pitches and came out to a raucous cheering from the Dodger Stadium faithful. Kershaw himself started a rally in the bottom of the seventh with a walk. Joakim Soria gives up a double to Bellinger which put runners at second and third. Turner’s line drive single to center plated the fourth Dodger run. An RBI ground out from Brian Dozier scored the fifth run. Dodgers leading 5-1. Pedro Baez pitches a scoreless top of the eighth. Petey continues his incredibly dominant run of pitching this postseason. The Dodgers got a Puig double in the bottom of the eighth, but don’t score when Barnes strikes out and Matt Kemp grounds out.
Move to the top of the ninth. With a four run lead the Dodgers bring in Caleb Ferguson. The left hander retires Yelich on a grounder. Veteran Ryan Madson is brought in to record the final two outs, but he can’t get the job done. He gets Braun to ground out, but Aguilar doubles down the third base line and former Dodger Curtis Granderson banged a double to score Aguilar and the Dodger lead was cut to 5-2. Dave Roberts didn’t want to mess around so he brings in Kenley Jansen. The big man strikes out Moustakas to end the game. Dodgers win it 5-2!
The Dodgers played fantastic but the Brewers strategy will be forever dissected. The Brewers used Miley to open the game as a strategic decoy to get the Dodgers to burn a few of their right handed hitters, but the Dodgers didn’t budge. The series will now shift back to Milwaukee on Friday night for game 6. The Dodger are just one win away from winning their second consecutive National League pennant and going to the World Series. The Brewers will give the ball to Wade Miley as they try to extend the series, while the Dodgers will send Hyun-jin Ryu to the mound looking to close out the NLCS. First pitch is scheduled for 5:39 PM PST. The Dodgers are one resilient club!