Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves
NLCS Game 5
Friday, September 16, 2020 at 9:08 p.m. ET at Globe Life Park
Just when it looked as if Los Angeles was about to take charge of the National League Championship Series, an Atlanta rookie appearing in his first postseason game silences the Dodgers to leave them on the brink of elimination…and the Braves a win away from their first World Series trip in 21 years.
One recurring theme to the playoffs has been late starting pitcher announcements from teams, and that is the case for Friday’s matchup with top-rated sportsbooks waiting on Atlanta before setting the moneyline and total. Los Angeles will send rookie Dustin May (4-1, 2.37) out to the bump in hopes of staving off elimination, and we should see the Dodgers listed as small favorites once the Braves come up with a starter.
Braves Averaging 8.9 RPG In Playoffs
Even though they lost Game 2, it really felt like the pendulum was swinging in the Dodgers favor when they scored seven runs over the final three innings of the contest. Los Angeles then set the record books on fire in Game 3 with an 11-run first inning during which the lineup crushed three home runs to cruise to a 15-3 decision.
It was easy to imagine the Dodgers coming out hot on Thursday to even the set, especially with Heritage pegging LA as -210 chalk behind veteran Clayton Kershaw. Nothing doing, as Atlanta’s Bryse Wilson tossed six 1-hit innings while Braves hitters exploded for the big inning this time to romp in a 10-2 final.
After playing a little like a park that would favor pitchers, Globe Life Field has become a launching pad the past three games with the Dodgers and Braves combining to score 45 runs. That really should not be a surprise since it’s a matchup of the two most prolific offenses during the regular season, and the only clubs to hammer 100+ homers during the 60-game campaign.
Can Gingergaard Save The Day?
May is making his fourth appearance this postseason, and second of the NLCS after coming out of the bullpen in Los Angeles’ 5-1 loss in Game 1 on Monday, the MLB odds closing the Dodgers at -145. The big redhead only threw 21 pitches in that 5-out showing, and has yet to be used for more than two innings and 27 tosses by manager Dave Roberts in the playoffs.
Other than Monday’s outing, May has only faced the Braves one other time. That happened on the road in Atlanta about 14 months ago, and came out of the bullpen with two frames and four runs allowed. All four runs were plated by a Rafael Ortega grand slam.
Brian Snitker has hinted he would opt for either Kyle Wright or Josh Tomlin to begin Game 5. Wright was pounded Wednesday in LA’s Game 3 win, lasting just two outs and 28 pitches during the dodgers’ barrage. Tomlin also got lit up for three runs over two-thirds of an inning of relief on Tuesday. If he can piece together 5-6 innings from several arms, Snitker has AJ Minter, Darren O’Day and closer Mark Melancon rested to get the final 9+ outs.
Umpire Notes, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick
Dan Iassogna is tasked with calling balls and strikes in Game 5 following a regular season in which his duties at the dish resulted in a 4-6-1 O/U/P record. A veteran of 22 MLB seasons, Iassogna also served as crew chief in the NLWC series between the Marlins and Cubs, and was lined up to work the plate in Game 3 before Miami swept Chicago in two games.
This will be the fourth LCS plate assignment for the Bridgeport, CT native, the most recent of those being Game 5 of the 2015 ALCS that ended with a 7-1 Blue Jays win over the Royals. Iassogna’s last postseason game behind the mask was Game 6 of the 2017 World Series, a 3-1 Dodgers win in LA over the Astros.
Wind was a factor on Thursday, but shouldn’t be an issue Friday when clear skies and temps in the mid-60s are forecast for most of the contest. Just how long either manager goes with their starting pitchers tonight is the real mystery of this contest. I still believe the Dodgers are the right MLB pick to come out on top and force a sixth game in the NLCS.