The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Atlanta Braves 7-3 in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series on Friday, largely thanks to two Corey Seager home runs and a Will Smith three-run shot.
Atlanta now leads the best-of-seven matchup three games to two.
Game 6 of the NLCS will take place Saturday at 4:38 p.m. ET in Globe Life Field. FS1 will televise the game. A limited amount of seats are available and can be purchased through MLB.com.
Walker Buehler will take the mound for the Dodgers, and Max Fried will do the same for Atlanta. The pitching matchup is a rematch of Game 1, which Atlanta won 5-1 after scoring four runs in the ninth.
Both starters pitchers fared well. Fried went six innings, allowing four hits, giving up one earned run and striking out nine. Buehler was a bit wild with five walks but limited the damage to one earned run over five frames, punching out seven.
At their best, Fried and Buehler are dominant.
Fried, a left-hander, went 7-0 with a 2.25 ERA this season, striking out 50 batters in 56.0 innings. The right-handed Buehler is 23-9 with a 3.03 ERA and 10.3 K/9 rate over his past three seasons.
The easy guess is to assume Game 6 plays out similarly to Game 1, with neither team getting much going on offense and a battle of the bullpens deciding the contest. If that’s the case, then the edge goes to Los Angeles. Atlanta used star left-handed reliever A.J. Minter as its starter in Game 5, and he was sensational with seven strikeouts in three shutout innings.
But he’s unlikely to take the mound Saturday after tossing 42 pitches, so the Braves will be without a reliever who posted a microscopic 0.83 ERA this season.
Atlanta obviously has other options, including Chris Martin, Darren O’Day and Mark Melancon. But the Dodgers should have their full arsenal (minus perhaps Blake Treinen, who tossed two innings) available, as none of their relievers threw more than 19 pitches Friday.
In addition, the Dodger bats seem to have woken up after going dormant. They benefitted from three big blasts but were able to manufacture rallies and get runners on base off some timely hitting, with L.A. notably scoring all six of their sixth- and seventh-inning runs with two out.
The pick here is for L.A. to extend this series to a seventh game in a low-scoring contest. The top third of the lineup in Mookie Betts, Seager and Justin Turner will do enough damage against the bullpen to propel L.A. to one win away from its third NL pennant in four years.