Braves Vs. Dodgers Game 5 Preview: Joc Pederson At DH As L.A. Looks To Avoid Elimination

The Los Angeles Dodgers suffered a disappointing loss in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series, putting them one defeat away from elimination against the Atlanta Braves.

They now need to win three straight to take the series, and it starts on Friday night when they send Dustin May to the mound in Game 5.

In 12 games (10 starts) this season, May went 3-1 with a 2.57 ERA, 4.62 FIP and 1.09 WHIP with 44 strikeouts and 16 walks in 56 innings. In three postseason appearances so far, he has tossed 4.2 shutout innings, giving up just one hit with six strikeouts and two walks.

This is his second start of the postseason although it is the first time he will be asked to give some length. May started Game 3 of the NL Division Series against the San Diego Padres but that was as an opener and he tossed one scoreless inning.

May also made a relief appearance in Game 1 of the NLCS, allowing a hit with two strikeouts and one walk in 1.2 innings. He only threw 21 pitches so although this Game 5 start will only come on three days’ rest, he should be able to provide some length to help out a Dodgers bullpen that has struggled in this series.

The Braves are not going with a traditional starter in Game 5 as reliever A.J. Minter is starting a bullpen game. In 26 appearances this season, Minter was outstanding to the tune of a 0.83 ERA, 2.82 FIP and 1.11 WHIP with 24 strikeouts and nine walks in 21.1 innings.

He pitched in Game 2 of the series, recording two outs while allowing a home run to Corey Seager. Part of the reason that he is starting this game is L.A. has struggled against southpaws this season, particularly leadoff man Mookie Betts, who hit just .200/.313/.218 against them.

Other candidates to pitch for the Braves in Game 5 are Kyle Wright and Josh Tomlin. Neither has fared well in this series so far, but both can provide some much-needed length for the Atlanta pitching staff and this is by no means a must-win game for them.

Despite Minter being a lefty, the Dodgers opted for Joc Pederson as designated hitter. “That’s just more of seeing what they have at their disposal and our expectation,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts explained.

“Joc has been swinging the bat really well, so to have him in there and take four at-bats will be big for us.”

Dodgers lineup

RF: Mookie Betts
SS: Corey Seager
3B: Justin Turner
1B: Max Muncy
C: Will Smith
CF: Cody Bellinger
LF: AJ Pollock
DH: Joc Pederson
2B: Chris Taylor

Braves lineup

RF: Ronald Acuña Jr.
1B: Freddie Freeman
DH: Marcell Ozuna
C: Travis d’Arnaud
2B: Ozzie Albies
SS: Dansby Swanson
3B: Austin Riley
LF: Nick Markakis
CF: Cristian Pache

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