I have good news: No More Daniel Murphy!
I have bad news: A lot more Clayton Kershaw!
After winning a wild one over the Washington Nationals last night – including a Clayton Kershaw save in the ninth (more on that in a bit) – the Los Angeles Dodgers have advanced to the NLCS, becoming the fourth and final team remaining in the 2016 postseason.
In the end, it’ll come down to the Cubs, Dodgers, Blue Jays and Indians, with the latter two kicking off the ALCS tonight at 7:00 CT. As usual, we’ll have a full Pre-Gamin’ post up for that, so you can follow along and dream of the next round. The biggy.
The Cubs and Dodgers will start their seven-game series NLCS Saturday night, but before we get to any of that let’s talk about that wild Game Five for a moment …
- Although they were down in the series 2-1 entering Game Four on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Dodgers battled their way back from elimination and knocked the Washington Nationals out of the postseason. Of course, it was easier said than done, and things did not look particularly promising early on.
- With just two on and two out in the third, Rich Hill (apparently on a very tight leash after starting just four days earlier) was pulled from the game. The move ultimately paid off – Anthony Rendon lined out to center to end the threat – but the Dodgers had certainly dug themselves a hole – one that would ultimately require six pitchers (including three starters) to get out of. Which, let’s pause there for a second. Despite an upcoming seven game series against the Chicago Cubs, the Los Angeles Dodgers used each of Rich Hill (2.2 IP), Julio Urias (2.0 IP), and Clayton Kershaw (0.2 IP) aggressively last night – even after Kershaw had already made two starts in the series. According to reports on Twitter, he’ll be good to go in Game 2 against the Cubs (which would be Sunday), but it does seem hard to believe. No matter what, expect to see Kershaw more than just once over the next week.
- As an aside, given the appearances of each of those three starters, I’d tentatively expect Kenta Maeda to start game one against the Cubs this weekend. The Dodgers have yet to announce their NLCS rotation, and the Cubs have announced only that Jon Lester will start Game One.
- Frequently dominant closer Kenley Jansen also tossed 2.1 innings last night, topping his previous season high of 1.2 IP (completed just once this year), and eclipsed 50 pitches. It’s a pipe dream to believe that one extended outing will somehow break Jansen, but he will certainly be more tired/worn down than usual in (at least) Game One tomorrow night.
- Max Scherzer was very good last night, going six scoreless innings, before getting pulled after a leadoff solo home run to Joc Pederson in the seventh. From there, a walk, two singles, and a triple helped the Dodgers score four runs, which was just enough to win the game (despite a two-run Nationals comeback in the bottom of the same frame).
- The other most notable bit in the game was the decision to send Jayson Werth from third, with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Werth was ultimately thrown out by approximately two and half miles:
- Game times for the NLCS have already been announced (for the first five games, that is), with each starting at exactly 7:08 CT.
- And we’re awaiting some word on the Cubs roster decisions, although that may ultimately be reserved until tomorrow.
- Otherwise, the ALCS begins tonight, while the Cubs get their second chance at the NLCS tomorrow. Brett and I will once again be at Yak-Zies on Clark for the game, so stop by, say hi, and watch two grown men experience all of the emotions in roughly 3 hours.