The good news for the Los Angeles Dodgers entering Game 5 of the NLCS on Thursday night against the visiting Atlanta Braves down 3-1 is that the Dodgers have proven they can perform in elimination games. They trailed the Braves 3-1 in last year's NLCS, too, but won that series and overall have won six consecutive elimination games. The bad news is that All-Star third baseman Justin Turner is out the rest of this postseason and the team is facing the Braves' best pitcher. With a loss, could the Dodgers move on from Manager Dave Roberts? There's a lot of chatter out there. Click here for best DFS plays.
Teams leading a best-of-7 playoff series have gone on to win it 84 percent of the time (75 of 89). Only four teams have rallied from deficits of both 2-0 and 3-1 to win a best-of-7, with last year's Dodgers being the most recent. The others: 2004 Red Sox (ALCS), 1985 Royals (ALCS and World Series) and 1958 Yankees (World Series).
Turner, meanwhile, suffered a hamstring injury while hitting into a double-play in the seventh inning of Wednesday's 9-2 loss and he's finished for this postseason – L.A. will replace him with one of Zach McKinstry, Billy McKinney or Andy Burns. Turner also has been battling a neck issue in these playoffs, not starting Game 2 vs. the Braves, and is hitting only .118 with one RBI this postseason.
However, he has come up in the clutch many times in the past and his 13 career playoff homers are tied for the franchise record with Corey Seager and fourth all-time in NL history. Turner's 42 postseason RBIs also are a franchise record. Chris Taylor is expected to start at third tonight as he did in Game 2. The Dodgers are now +700 to win the World Series.
If Los Angeles loses, it's quite possible that Roberts isn't brought back next season in a "mutual" decision as his contract only runs through 2022. He has led the team to the postseason six years in a row but has just the one World Series title to show for it and has certainly made some questionable pitching decisions in this series.
Roberts hasn't named his starting pitcher as of this writing but it will be a bullpen day – most likely Corey Knebel serving as the opener perhaps followed by David Price. Knebel served in that opening role in Game 1 and allowed a run in his lone inning. Knebel was also charged with a run in a third of an inning of relief in Game 3.
Atlanta, now the +180 second-favorite to win the World Series behind Houston (-105), will start ace lefty Max Fried. He was 14-7 with a 3.04 ERA during the regular season and had an MLB-best 1.74 ERA in the second half. He allowed two runs over six in Game 1 vs. L.A. in a no-decision.
This writer is on the Under 8 runs … and still deciding on the moneyline.
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