|Dodgers, Kershaw brace for Brewers in pivotal Game 5|
LOS ANGELES -- Starting pitching figures to be at a premium perhaps more than ever Wednesday when the Los Angeles Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers meet for what figures to be a bleary-eyed Game 5 of the National League Championship Series.
The teams played to a draw and taxed their bullpens for more than five hours in Game 4 on Tuesday before Cody Bellinger's RBI single in the 13th inning scored Manny Machado from second base and gave the Dodgers a 2-1 victory.
So close to taking a commanding 3-1 lead in the series, the Brewers are now even with the Dodgers at two games apiece. The Dodgers have staff ace Clayton Kershaw on the mound Wednesday, while the Brewers will counter with Wade Miley, who was dominating in Game 2.
Kershaw will be looking for redemption in the Dodgers' third and final home game of the series. The NLCS already is guaranteed to have a Game 6 on Friday at Milwaukee.
"There's no secrets anymore," Kershaw said, after giving up five runs (four earned) in three innings of Game 1. "I think now that we're (past) the fourth game of the series and facing them a couple of times in the regular season, I know what their strengths and weaknesses are. They obviously know mine. And I always like watching our guys pitch. And especially because we have a lot of lefties. For the most part, the video work is done, all the studying is done now, and it's just a matter of going out there and competing."
If the Dodgers do not advance out of the NLCS, there is a possibility that Wednesday could be Kershaw's last game in a Dodgers uniform at Dodger Stadium. He has the ability to opt out of his contract after the season and has 10 days after the World Series ends to reveal his decision.
For Miley, the big picture won't be as broad. His goal would be to repeat his outing from Saturday at Milwaukee, when he breezed through his outing, giving up only two hits. The Brewers are known for a reliance on their bullpen, but Miley still looked disappointed when he was removed in the sixth inning.
If he plans on varying his strategy this time around, he wasn't about to reveal any secrets.
"No, I just go and execute pitches," Miley said. "I feel like I attack every team I face the same: Just try to keep the ball down and mix speeds back and forth. And hopefully hit it at people."
When the series was in Milwaukee, the Dodgers were only able to produce against the acclaimed Brewers' bullpen. Now that the series has shifted to Los Angeles, the Dodgers appear to be struggling against all pitchers.
Even while winning Game 4, the Dodgers have scored only three runs over their last 22 innings, and those innings were all played in their own ballpark.
The Brewers, meanwhile, went scoreless over the final eight innings Tuesday, while facing eight pitchers.
Adding to the drama is that Game 5 will be played less than 15 hours after the ending to Game 4, which lasted 5 hours, 15 minutes and was the second-longest NLCS game by time after Game 5 in 1999 between the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves went 5:46.