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Dodgers look to end the series, Kershaw starts Game 5 if necessary

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MLB: NLDS-Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers couldn’t quite get that last hit to put them over the top Sunday night. Falling a run short of tying it in the ninth, the Dodgers had runners on second and third when the final out was recorded.

The final four innings of the game produced several opportunities with runners in scoring position, ending with three straight in the final frame. Overall, from the sixth inning on, the Dodgers were 0-for-7 with two walks when given the chance to cash them in.

But getting down 5-0 early on the road didn’t faze them, with the experience of a deep playoff run last season showing up in a big way.

“The confidence that we have, we’re never out of any games,” said Matt Kemp. “We’ve been playing really good baseball, and we knew when we got down 5-0 in the second inning, there was a lot of time left to make up. We gotta chip away, and that’s what we did.”

“Walker had that one tough inning, but after that he shut them down. So I mean we’re never out of any games, no matter how far we get down.”

Even though they didn’t completely pull out the win Sunday, the Dodgers believed they were still in it because of the way they grind out at-bats as a team.

“We do have a lot of guys that do have a lot of postseason experience,” said Justin Turner speaking to the media Sunday. “And there have been a lot of conversations with some of the guys in our room who haven’t been there before.”

“But you know, I talk about us being prepared and built for the playoffs to our team because we did a good job all year long of offensively staying in the strike zone, taking our walks, and as a pitching staff, we throw more strikes than anybody.”

In the first three games of the series, the Dodgers have been issued 20 walks by Braves’ pitching — nine on Sunday. Dodger pitching hadn’t given up any walks until the second inning when Walker Buehler couldn’t find the strike zone all the sudden, walking three.

On Monday afternoon in Atlanta, the Dodgers will get another look at Mike Foltynewicz. The right-hander comes back on three days rest after making 50 pitches in two innings during Thursday’s Game 1.

The same eight position players that played in the first two games are back in the lineup for the Dodgers, with Joc Pederson in the leadoff spot. This group of players has produced six home runs over the first three games.

Not surprisingly, 16 of the 20 runs scored in this series by either club have come by way of the long ball.

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Rich Hill takes the ball for the Dodgers Monday, looking to end the series before it can go back to Los Angeles. After making some adjustments to his windup after a conversation with Chase Utley to prevent tipping pitches, Hill shut down the Giants for seven shutout innings in his final start of the regular season.

The left-hander is 1-1 with a 2.93 ERA in seven career postseason starts with the Dodgers.

Game 5 possibility

The Dodgers will do everything in their power to prevent the series from extending past Monday, but the question of who pitches Game 5 was answered today by manager Dave Roberts.

It’s going to be Clayton Kershaw.

“Clayton is going to get the ball in Game 5, if there is a Game 5,” said Roberts. “I think that we had our reasons why we decided on Game 1 versus Game 2. But if there’s a potential Game 5, we feel very confident that Clayton should be the guy taking the baseball.”

Kershaw shut down the Braves for eight innings in Game 2 and would make the start on regular rest.