Zack Greinke will take the mound in Game 5 of the NLCS this afternoon after the Dodgers lost last night to fall into a 3-1 series hole to the St. Louis Cardinals. The team and its fans need look no further than recent history to find an instance of a team coming back from down 3-1. Just last year these same Cardinals had a 3-1 series lead on the San Francisco Giants, only to lose the next three games. The pivotal Game 5 last year was pitched by Barry Zito and the Dodgers have to be supremely confident that Greinke can send the series back to Busch Stadium.
While starting pitching will set the tone, it will be the Dodgers offense that must step up to close the gap. The Dodgers outhit the Cardinals for yet another game last night, failing to capitalize on any big opportunities. The other unknown for the Dodgers will be whether or not Hanley Ramirez can play effectively. After going 2-for-4 with an RBI in Game 3, Ramirez went o-3 last night, striking out all three times and generally appearing to be in a lot of pain.
Ramirez had been upbeat before Games 3 and 4, but after leaving in the sixth inning last night, Ramirez is back in the lineup hitting third. He’ll give it his best shot as he and Andre Ethier are both in the initial lineup that was posted earlier this morning and hopefully he can tough it out.
The Cardinals will send Joe Kelly to the hill today and he tossed six innings in Game 1. Despite allowing eight Dodger base runners, Kelly held the Dodgers to only two runs as Game 1 wound up going 13 innings with the Cardinals pulling out the victory.
Anticipate yet another low scoring game today as there have been only 15 runs total scored in the series. Greinke has been on point this postseason with a 2.57 ERA in 14 innings of work and he matched Kelly in Game 1, tossing eight innings of two run ball in Game 1 in St. Louis.
The Dodgers have held the Cardinals lineup at bay for the entire series and with Greinke this afternoon coupled together with Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu looming, the Dodgers are feeling confident.
Greinke can only do so much on the mound as the Dodgers pitching staff has a 1.64 ERA and if they want to send things back to St. Louis, they’ll needed to get the bats going again.
Game 5 is today at 1:00 PM on TBS.
In case you missed it, here’s the latest on “RallyBear” from Game 3 of the NLCS