Here it is, in all its nail-biting, bittersweet glory: the final series of the regular season. The Dodgers will face the Brewers—and an uphill battle for the division title—in three games this weekend.
With a magic number of six, the Dodgers will need to sweep the Brewers and hope the Padres sweep the Giants in order to win the division outright. If five out of those six total games go the Dodgers’ way, they’ll force a tiebreaker.
Could it happen? Of course. It would be a small miracle, but it’s baseball, and we’ve seen stranger things before.
The Dodgers are riding the momentum of two multi-homer games, with two sets of back-to-back homers in last night’s cap on the Padres series and a total of 29 hits over the course of those three games. They have a 1-3 record against the Brewers this season, the only victory a 16-4 win on May 2.
The Brewers, meanwhile, have already clinched the NL Central division. They’ve won four of their last 10 games, including a shutout of the Cardinals, but will be missing ace setup reliever Devin Williams thanks to a season-ending hand injury. Williams gave up just three hits in his last 10 appearances.
As if this series isn’t already loaded with meaning, we may be kicking it off with Clayton Kershaw’s last start as a Dodger. Former teammate AJ Ellis doesn’t think so, calling Kershaw a one-uniform kind of guy, but time will tell how Kershaw’s free agency and an already-expensive lineup may change things in the offseason.
Friday: Clayton Kershaw vs. Eric Lauer, 7 p.m., SportsNet LA, MLB Network
Kershaw has thrown two complete games against the Brewers in his career: one in 2013, and one in 2014.
Saturday: Corbin Burnes vs. Julio Urías, 6 p.m., SportsNet LA
Burnes and Urías have both been in Cy Young conversations recently, with Burnes leading the majors in ERA (2.29) and placing second in WHIP (0.93) and average against (.200).
Sunday: Pitchers TBD, 12:10 p.m, SportsNet LA, TBS
With both teams preparing for big post-season games, the last outing of the season could come down to a bullpen game.