One day after managing to halt all of the momentum of the Astros, the Dodgers have decided to employ the exact same batting order which served them success in Game 4, but this time Los Angeles will lineup behind resident ace Clayton Kershaw.
Kersh has been outstanding during the 2017 postseason, so much so that his reputation of not being able to deliver in the playoffs has all but fizzled. He has put up a 3-0 record with a 2.96 ERA and 27 strikeouts combined in this year’s NLDS, NLCS and World Series. In the WS opener last Tuesday, the three-time Cy Young Award winner went an even seven stellar innings, allowing just one earned run on three hits while striking out 11 batters. What’s more, the Dodgers have won nine out of the last 10 playoff games which Kershaw has started.
And perhaps more importantly, the confidence of the players around No. 22 rises to a very high degree whenever the lefty ace is on the bump.
“We’ve got our guy on the mound tomorrow, and you’re always going to feel excited, positive and confident,” shortstop Corey Seager said after the victory in Game 4. “He’s just the best. There’s no other way around it. He’s the best.”
As for the Los Angeles batting order, Chris Taylor will leadoff and play center field, followed by Seager at short, Justin Turner as the designated hitter, and Enrique Hernandez in the cleanup spot playing left field. Cody Bellinger will bat fifth and play first, followed by Logan Forsythe at third base hitting sixth and right fielder Yasiel Puig batting seventh. Austin Barnes will hit eighth and do the catching, followed by Charlie Culberson batting ninth and playing second base.
The Astros will counter with southpaw Dallas Keuchel, who has a career 4-2 postseason record with a 2.84 ERA with 42 strikeouts in six starts over an even 38 innings of work. Against Kershaw and the Dodgers in Game 1 of the World Series in Los Angeles, the 29-year-old Tulsa native took the loss after giving up three earned runs on six hits and a walk in 6-2/3 innings.
Houston will utilize the exact same batting order they lined up in Game 4.
One advantage seemingly shifting in the Dodgers’ favor is the apparent collapse of the Houston bullpen. Los Angeles tagged closer Ken Giles and setup man Joe Musgrove for a whopping five runs in the ninth inning of Game 4, propelling the Boys in Blue to victory. Moving forward, the Astros may decide to pass along the closer duties to righty Brad Peacock, earned an 11-out save to finish off Game 3.
Dodgers Game 5 lineup:
- Taylor CF
- Seager SS
- Turner DH
- Hernandez LF
- Bellinger 1B
- Forsythe 3B
- Puig RF
- Barnes C
- Culberson 2B
Astros Game 5 lineup:
- Springer CF
- Bregman 3B
- Altuve 2B
- Correa SS
- Gurriel 1B
- Reddick RF
- Gattis DH
- Gonzalez LF
- McCann C
First pitch is slated for 5:20 p.m. Los Angeles time.
(FOLLOW DENNIS ON TWITTER: @THINKBLUEPC)