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Championship Series Day 6 Preview

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NLCS Game 5 and ALCS Game 4

MLB: NLCS-Milwaukee Brewers at Los Angeles Dodgers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

It was an exciting day in baseball, or at least it was an exciting end to a long day of baseball. In the earlier game, it was a tight contest in game 3 of the ALCS until the Red Sox blew it open in the 8th inning, ultimately taking a 2-1 series lead with a pretty convincing 8-2 win.

Over in the National League, it was super late for even the hometown Dodgers fans when Cody Bellinger hit the walkoff single in the bottom of the 13th inning at 11:25 pm Los Angeles time. The Dodgers won 2-1 and have now evened up their best of 7 ALCS with the Brewers at 2 games apiece.

Today we may see the last double header of the postseason, unless the Dodgers/Brewers series goes 7 games and the Astros/Red Sox series goes 6.

Brewers @ Dodgers - 5:05 ET

Game 5 of the NLCS gets the early draw in this one, perhaps so the teams can hit the road and be in Milwaukee early for their scheduled day off tomorrow. More likely it’s so TBS and the Astros - Red Sox can get the primetime spot, because that’s how baseball works.

Anyway, we have a game to preview.

Dodgers’ Starter

Game 1 starter and Ace Clayton Kershaw heads back to the mound for the Dodgers, looking for a little redemption. His start back in Milwaukee did not go his way, as he allowed 5 runs (4 earned) on 6 hits and a pair of walks, plus a home run to Brandon Woodruff, the reliever who came on after Gio Gonzalez was lifted.

Kershaw was let down by his defense in this one, but he also did not look his normal effective self either, fighting his command and possibly home plate umpire Scott Barry. Fun fact: batters have an OPS against Kershaw of .805 in the 6 regular season starts that Barry has called Kershaw’s games, vs a career .573 mark. I’m sure it’s super random noise, but fun nonetheless. I think today’s HP umpire is Jim Wolf, whom Kershaw has a .622 OPS against in the 3 games while he’s behind the plate.

Brewers’ Starter

The Brewers send out left hander Wade Miley to the mound. Miley was fantastic back in game 2, throwing 5.2 shutout innings, allowing just a pair of hits while striking out 3. Jeremy Jeffress burned down and the Dodgers ended up winning that game, but I’m sure the Brewers will be looking for more of the same from Miley today. If you add in his start from the ALDS against the Rockies, Miley has thrown 10.1 shutout innings in this postseason, allowing 5 hits and a walk.

Other Notes

As Martin touches on, Manny Machado did another stupid petty Manny Machado thing, causing the benches to clear. He could have a fastball to the ribs coming, but I really hope that is not the case - giving up free baserunners is a bad thing.

Gio Gonzalez was lifted from yesterday’s game after 1 inning, and is apparently being replaced on the active roster. The Brewers will get a new pitcher for the bullpen, although I have no idea who that might be.

Red Sox at Astros - 8:39 ET

The Astros look to even the series up at 2 games after falling apart late in yesterday’s game. After fighting their way back to tie it in the bottom of the 5th, Steve Pearce gave the Red Sox the lead in the top of the 6th with a big home run. The Red Sox tacked on another 5 in the 8th inning to walk away with game 3, capped by this Jackie Bradley Jr grand slam.

Astros’ Starter

The Astros’ send their forgotten rotation stalwart Charlie Morton to the mound, who hasn’t pitched since September 30. Morton will be making his first start of the postseason, but not because they don’t want him out there. He’s just the 4th best starter in this loaded Astros’ rotation, and when you sweep Cleveland and can go back to your Aces to start the next round, the 4th starter gets to sit on the bench. Morton could very realistically pitch just 2 games this entire postseason even if the Astros win it all.

Morton did have a pretty great year on the mound. In 30 starts, he went 15-3 with a 3.13 ERA, and I would imagine that most teams would be naming him their opening day starter for next year after a season like that. He threw 167 innings, the second most in his career and the most since 2011. Morton also eclipsed the 200 strikeout plateau for the first time in his career, getting to 201, 38 more than his previous high.

Morton made a pair of starts against the Red Sox this past season. The first one went quite poorly, where he allowed 6 runs on 9 hits across 5.1 innings. He allowed a pair of home runs in that one too, one to Mitch Moreland and one to Andrew Benintendi. The second start went much better, as he allowed 2 runs on 7 hits over 5 innings, surrendering a home run to Xander Bogaerts.

Red Sox Starter

The Red Sox will send former Cy Young winner Rick Porcello to the mound, making his second start and fourth appearance in this postseason for the Red Sox. He twice came in in relief, helping to bridge the gap to Craig Kimbrel in the Yankee series as well as in game 2 of this series. Out of the bullpen, he has 1.2 shutout innings with just a hit allowed, while his game 4 start in the ALDS went 5 innings where he allowed just a run on 4 hits.

Porcello had 2 starts against Houston this year. The first one went quite well, allowing 3 runs (2 earned) over 6.1 innings, surrendering 5 hits and a pair of walks, with a home run to George Springer, and he got the win over Morton that day. The second game didn’t go quite as well, as Porcello allowed 4 runs on 7 hits in 5.2 innings, this time surrendering a pair of home runs, one to Jose Altuve and the other to Marwin Gonzalez.

Find the Link

Find the link between Kershaw, Morton, and Miley, but not Porcello.