NLCS Game 5: Kershaw Provides Legacy Start, Dodger Bats Provide Lethal Weapons as Dodgers Take NLCS Lead

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.

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NLCS Game 5 Dodgers Lead 3-2

Brewers  2 5 1

Dodgers  5 9 0

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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.

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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!

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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31 thoughts on “NLCS Game 5: Kershaw Provides Legacy Start, Dodger Bats Provide Lethal Weapons as Dodgers Take NLCS Lead

  1. Excellent start by Kershaw. Signs of the Old Dodger Ace, with his nasty curve.
    Barnes did a tremendous job behind the dish. Called a great game. All the pitchers looked comfortable on bump. A lot has to do with Barnes’ ability to call a game to the pitcher’s strengths. Kershaw said he threw more curves then he expected to, but Barnes knew that was Clayton’s best pitch today, and stuck with it. Also showed great receiving, which gives the pitchers a sense of confidence. To top it all, Barnes had a key hit and smart base running.

    Sorry to say, Grandal…. this was a statement game for Barnes, and You may be on the bench for the rest of the LCS. Dodgers might want to add Farmer to the Roster, should they go to WS.

    DR outmanaged Counsel today. Starting Miley as a decoy today backfired. Nothing went right for Milwaukee, thanks to Counsel. Miley will start the next game Friday. Will this be the first time a pitcher started back-to-back games? Would’nt that be hilarious.

    Dodger bats showed some life today. Pitchers are all peaking at the same time. This could be a good sign. Where has Baez been all year? This guy looks like he got his mojo back… at the right time.

    I still say Dodgers in seven, but with Ryu going Friday, and the Dodgers all in sync, they could wrap it up in six.

    Go Dodgers. One game at a time.

    1. Forgot to mention, I thought we were going to get “Smirked” again today, with Machado’s back-to-back GIDP. But the Dodgers prevailed.phew!

        1. Bluto,

          I’ll give you that….His arm is great, when he wants to use it. But his aweful “Smirk” is not a joy. The Rally Killer squelled two scoring bonanzas with GIDP’s

          Depends on who will show up every game. If we went by the odds, he played crappy yesterday, so he might have a good game on Friday.

    2. To be fair, Counsell has no starters left and this was probably going to be a bullpen game. So throwing Miley out there was a good move in that context.

  2. A solid outing by the team all-around. A few questionable moves by Roberts but overall it worked out great in the end. Let’s go into Milwaukee and win this thing. Momentum is a hard thing to stop.

  3. Wow, just watching Boston attack the baseball. It is a wonder why they had bes record in baseball this season. They are a run producing, hitting machine. FYI Boston hitting coach is Tim Hyers. Hyers was assistant hitting coach under Turner Ward in 2016-2017. Went to Boston as head hitting coach for 2018 season. What a loss for the Dodgers.

  4. Todays game was played like baseball back in the day. Since they did not hit a homer, and they for once, took the pitches they were given and made them count. Barnes set the tone for that by not trying to pull the ball and just shooting it up the middle. Both Cody and Muncy hitting the ball to the left side, and Puig, who hit a bullet up the middle with 2 strikes. That’s real baseball, not the all or nothing game that is usually played by this team. They really need to close this out on Friday. I think that is the best scenario. Too much can happen in a 7th game.

    1. Michael,

      One of the primary reasons the game has evolved has been the training and conditioning of the athletes. Compare the compadres of Ebbets Field with the players at Chavez Ravine, Oct. 2018. The first thing you notice is how much bigger, more muscular, the players are today. This is the main thing that translates into power. When you have the power, you use it, not every time you get to the plate as the age old strategies are still valid. But to think that the game should be played like the 50’s is just plain old backward thinking with a lot of nostalgia thrown in.

      Every sport in existence has undergone changes due to enhanced training and development of elite athletes. Baseball is no exception. Living in the past is for old timers who somehow can’t adjust to the tune of the times. There is no right way or ultimate way of anything. You sound like you are on a soapbox with a righteous evangelical message to the rest of us. It’s quite annoying listening to you go on with your shtick. No wonder you are so reactive to Timmons. Both of you have this streak in spades.

      Personally, I find the pitcher battles very boring after a while. HR’s are exciting and fun for everyone. Nowadays, more batters can hit them than ever before. The key is to not get too stuck with this idea of hitting the HR every time. But those who can hit them, should hit them and will hit them no matter what anyone thinks.

      1. Jeff, I think it’s a good thing to win both ways. Small ball and SABRtastic ball. Other sports don’t toss the old way, they take the old and new and make it better. And note that the Astros won it all last year because they moved runners over and did not rely on the long ball. The Red Sox aren’t the top homer hitting club in the AL either.

      2. I care less what you think about how I view the game Jeff. I know what I like to watch, and yesterdays game was watchable. It was tense, had a lot of action, and good fundamental baseball was played. It was far more watchable than that 5 hour 13 inning fiasco the night before. You might enjoy watching 32 strikeouts, but I thought it was a terrible game to sit through. But being the fan I am, I did. And do not compare me to Timmons. We have differing views of the game. I know the players today are much better athletes than say Snider or Frank Howard. They have all sorts of elliptical equipment and real physical trainers. They are definitely in better shape. And as you say, the game has evolved. I am not preaching to the choir as it was. I am just saying what I think. You do not agree, fine, you say a lot of stuff I do not agree with. but that’s human nature. I liked the game the way it was. Homers are exciting. It was fun watching guys like McGwire and Sosa hit bombs. Even though I really disliked Bonds, the man could hit the long ball and chicks dig that right? But a well executed bunt that helps you win the game can be just as important. But the history of the game, the stats and the poetry of the game, are pretty much the same. It is just not played the same way. You know what I really dislike? I hate all the delays for pitching changes, delays for replays, yesterday the bottom of the first inning took 25 minutes to play. And there was little action. But again, that’s just me. But you my friend, you do not have to worry about my posting. Because you see, I do not give a rats ass what you think. You are nothing more than another anonymous voice typing out his opinion on a computer and trying to tell everyone just how smart and into the game of baseball you are. I am glad you enjoy the game the way it is. Good for you. And remember this, with age comes wisdom, to most, to some it never comes. I have seen a lot, and done a lot. I know what I like and what I dislike. My opinions are mine alone. You don’t agree or dislike them, well, that’s just too bad because they are not going to change. You don’t even have your picture posted. Even Timmons has the guts to put his up there. That’s the real me in the photo, playing my guitar and entertaining people.

        1. It’s all about you, Michael. Your opinions, your likes and dislikes. So tiring to read. You are also crass without real regard for others in your posts, highlighting only what you believe in, disparaging others when they don’t agree with you.

          1. I see your point and it is not really my intent to come off that way. Everything here is someone’s opinion, nothing more. I get frustrated with the way the games go and the approach. But like I have said before, those are just my opinions. I do not mean to be crass. I have had some running arguments with some posters, but just because I did not agree with what they said, does not mean I did not respect their right to have those opinions. If I have come off that way, I do apologize. If they are tiring for you to read Jeff, well, I guess you can just not read them. Because I will continue to speak my mind on what I see and think. If you disagree, well that is fine. I know that saber metrics are used for a lot of things. I just don’t think they have made the game better. Change that makes the game better is a good thing. I know that I am fast becoming a minority in my thinking and that baseball wise, I am probably a dinosaur. Disagree all you want, that is your privilege.

    2. I agree Michael. Also I agree with the top post that the pitch calling was great throughout. The two key strikeouts were slow benders in the dirt on pitchers counts. Excellent.

      This is Dodgers baseball!!

  5. Totally agree, Jeff.

    Way too caught up in numbers and long ball. Long ball, and launch angle mean bigger numbers and bigger bucks. Does not matter how many runs your team scores, as long as you pad your numbers, and fill your pockets.

    Sad, but it is reality. If numbers and long ball ment nothing, then the shift would not exist. Frustrating to watch these players hit right into the shift, rather than going the other way. MLB is giving the majority of the fans what they want to see. I am part of the minority. I prefer old school baseball. Much more exciting, like yesterday’s game.

    1. Blue, we tend to think that using metrics means that the fundamentals of baseball get put aside. This is not the case. It’s about probabilities. For example, the shift tells a team that a batter is more likely to hit to certain spots. This is something that numbers help with and every team seems to use this. Pitching to an opposite hand batter is also something that has been in place for ever. The numbers will usually bear this out, however, there are exceptions. LH batters hitting LH pitchers consistently, same for the opposite. Numbers help determine the probability of sending a particular batter up to the plate. No way is 100% effective. It is only about probabilities. You can’t predict whether a pitcher will have accurate stuff or whether a batter will hit a HR or a groundout in any particular situation. You go with what has happened in the past and adjust to the probability aspect. Old school/new school debate is beside the point. Probability is what anyone looks at to make strategies in sports.

  6. Definitely, Jerry,

    Trainers are overdeveloping muscles that are not normally used in baseball, hitters and pitchers alike.

    Hamstrings, obliques, groins, elbows and shoulders, knees. They can develop muscles in these areas, but your bone structure may not be accustomed to it, and you end up overcompensating, leading to injuries.

  7. Michael
    You have been critical of many of posts but I never took it personal. It usually was you trying to get me to see another perspective or make me understand why someone disagreed with me. I considered it an act of friendship not meanness. If you will notice some of those that critisized you do the same things that they are critical of you for doing. One has caused me be to cut back on comments. He is an ass. You are right, you should always give your opinion as it is, that is why this is a blog. To get other peoples thoughts. I also do not think there are many who feel the way you have been portrayed. Keep it up for those of us who remember what baseball was and should be.

    1. Thank you for the kind words Pack. Yeah, I understand why some people would think what you said. I get my back up about something’s and I am old and kind of stubborn in my ways. But I feel about my country the same way I feel about baseball. It was better back then. I guess what gets my goat is everybody raves about saber metric’s and the way it has changed the game. For me, why do the old stats like wins, BA and RBI’s suddenly lose their collective relevance after being the accepted form for calculating value for over 100 years?

      1. Is that true?

        You don’t think this country is at its pinnacle?

        With the sports, science, technology, architectural, art and health advances/accomplishments?

        What, without opening Pandora’s Box, could you have appreciated from an earlier time?

        1. I think there are some positive things, and I think there are some negatives too. Science has had some major advancements. But I think education has floundered. Sports are what they are and depending on the person watching, they are either better, or worse. The athletes are obviously more in shape and better athletes that is for sure. But all the sports have changed dramatically. And again, depending on the person watching, for better or not. I think life was a lot less hectic when I was young. Things moved at a much slower pace. And we all did not seem as angry as we seem now. A lot of dissention in this day and age, and very few seem to want to work it out, or work together. Again, this is just the way I see it.

      2. I think Michael, that those “old stats” have lost relevance because their impact on helping people understand the game and player performance have been questioned or resolved in an unfavorable manner.

        We’ve spoken about pitcher wins, and that one is pretty much settled, right? If a pitcher gives up 5 runs and wins, what does that tell you about pitcher performance. Wins for a team are important, attributing them to a sole player is painting with too broad a brush.

        BA is similarly discussed ad infinitum. I’d just ask you think. Why in the world are Walks not part of batting average??!?!!!

        RBI’s are like pitcher wins. They are too dependent on other factors. Other players reaching base and getting into scoring position, the speed of the runners on base, the throwing arm of an OF, the decision-making skills of a SS fielding a grounder…

        The newer metrics (exit velocity, OPS+, WAR) are meant to contextualize a single players performance or deed without external factors. Enabling people to see how the players themselves are performing, and enabling people to properly evaluate them.

        Remember the joke you made about evaluating a pitcher based on the sound of his fastball into a mitt. Aren’t you glad the sport isn’t relying on that?!?!?

        1. Yeah, I remember the joke, but I also never said that scouts relied on that in their scouting reports. I know all about what saber metrics are used for. I get it. Baseball is after all a team game, and unless the entire team is doing all those things the team obviously is not going to win as a group. Still does not explain how you are going to figure out what a player is worth come contract time. You going to go in there and use WAR, exit velocity and spin rate to negotiate dollars and years? It is all guess work. If you want to neutralize RBI’s, then how about reducing them in some way. Say a player gets credit for driving in his team mates, but IE, no credit when he only drives in himself. So actual runs driven in would also account for the team factor and how their getting on base affected his total. And you could change the requirement for a win too. Lots of ways to make stats more reliable and telling. But to answer your question, for those of us who have watched the game for as long as we have, the old way is easier and a lot less complicated to understand. Seeing a HR record being broken is a lot easier to understand than seeing some player set a career record for WAR or having the best exit velocity ever in the game. The old stats are also the easiest way to gauge a player of this era against the players of bygone days. Relax, soon we will all be dead, and you newer stat guys can have it your way without us old geezers complaining about it.

  8. I think Bluto that most people of my generation do not think that the country is better than when we were young. Not sure how old you are, but I have a lot of friends who are not too happy with life as it is. Maybe we are all just grumpy, who knows. People live longer now and some childhood diseases have been eradicated. The have been replaced by some others that are not so easily dispensed with. Never heard of COPD back in the day, but it is a very prevalent in people my age. Lots of changes. Some good, others not so much. Again, it depends on who you how and how that change affects your life.

    1. I have no interest in ever disclosing personal information on the Internet. So, let’s leave that there.

      COPD dates back to the 1600s, I believe. It’s modern medicine and science that allow us to know it, and that it’s not “smoker’s cough” or whatever. You know what else dates back to the 1600s?

      Childhood diseases? Um, they were childhood diseases because, as above, you lived until you were 50 (or in the aforementioned 1600s, you could expect to live until you were 35. THIRTY FIVE. Polio, Tuberculosis, Cholera. Small pox.

      Diseases have been eradicated, lifespans elongated, computational power expanded. Galaxies explored. Ridiculously safe and fast travel. Open heart surgery. Cell phones. The Internet. Movies. The golden age of TV. Tremendous architecture. Mike Trout! LeBron James! Robert Caro! Baldessari, Ruscha.

      Do you remember having to withdraw money from a teller at a bank? Remember using a passbook? Dialing a rotary phone? Burning your trash? Busy signals?!?!?!?!??

      1. If Scott can see this, can you delete my post (and this one?)

        It’s overly confrontational, and un-necessary.

        Thanks.

        If he can’t, please ignore it Michael.

        I appreciate your thoughts and opinion on the matter.

        1. No biggie. I get where you are coming from. There have been a lot of leaps forward of that there is no doubt and I remember all those things you mentioned. But I do not think going to the bank and having to go to a tellers window to get your money was necessarily a bad thing. Everything you mention is a sign of the age we live in and for the most part it has made lives easier. I also think people are lazier. You have bars on the windows, everyone locks their doors. Crime is up, violent crime is high. There is more civil unrest. A lot of the change has been good. And it has increased life expectancy, but is it a better life? depends on the individual I would guess.

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