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Dodgers send Clayton Kershaw to the mound in potential pennant clincher

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MLB: NLCS-Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers have a chance to return to the World Series for the first time in 29 years, and they send their best to the mound in Game 5 of the NLCS, with Clayton Kershaw starting against the Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

This is just the second time Kershaw will start with a chance to close out a series, and the first time in four years. He started Game 4 of the 2013 NLDS against the Braves — on three days rest — and allowed two unearned runs in six innings in a no-decision, a game the Dodgers eventually won thanks to Juan Uribe.

Kershaw was also on the mound in Game 5 of the 2016 NLDS, recording the final two outs out of the bullpen to record the only save of his career.

So far this postseason Kershaw has allowed six runs in 11⅓ innings — a 4.76 ERA — with all the runs scoring on home runs, five allowed in all by Kershaw. All the runs scored by the Cubs in the NLCS have scored on home runs, with six home runs and seven total runs in four games.

In the Dodgers’ loss in Game 4, they did not use closer Kenley Jansen or Brandon Morrow, and with Friday’s pending off day Dave Roberts can be aggressive as needed on Thursday night in Game 5.

“We're in a pretty good spot. We've got our number one pitcher going tomorrow, and we've got two of the guys at the back end rested,” Roberts said Wednesday. “I still like the position we're in.”

The Dodgers this postseason are hitting .292/.411/.403 against left-handed pitchers, with 15 walks and 16 strikeouts. They have hit for more power against right-handers, with nine of their 10 home runs against righties, hitting .237/.356/.480.

Dodgers postseason offense

Split PA 2B 3B HR BB% K% BA/OBP/SLG OPS
Split PA 2B 3B HR BB% K% BA/OBP/SLG OPS
vs. LHP 92 5 0 1 16.3% 17.4% .292/.411/.403 .814
vs. RHP 182 4 3 9 14.8% 23.6% .237/.356/.480 .836

They were just 2-for-15 with a double against Jose Quintana in Game 1 of the NLCS, though they did walk four times and knocked him out after 89 pitches in five innings, in a game the Dodgers eventually won against the Cubs bullpen.

Runners in scoring position

Neither team had a hit with runners in scoring position in Game 4, with all five runs scored on solo home runs. Here are the numbers with RISP for the series:

  • Dodgers: 6-for-29, home run, triple, double, 7 walks, 6 strikeouts (.207/.342/.414)
  • Cubs: 0-for-13, 6 strikeouts (.000/.000/.000)

Game 5 info

Time: 5:08 p.m. PT

TV: TBS (Brian Anderson, Ron Darling, Sam Ryan)

Online: TBS.com and the Watch TBS app

Local radio: AM 570 (Charley Steiner, Rick Monday)

National radio: ESPN Radio (Dan Shulman, Aaron Boone)