Clayton Kershaw was great again as the Dodgers moved to within one win of their second straight National League pennant.

MLB postseason 2018: Three takeaways from Dodgers' NLCS Game 5 win over Brewers


The Dodgers are one win away from their second straight National League pennant after they took down the Brewers 5-2 in Game 5 of the NLCS Wednesday.

Milwaukee got creative to start the game with its pitching staff, but a brilliant start from a future Hall of Famer in Clayton Kershaw led the Dodgers to victory.

Game 6 will be played Friday in Milwaukee.

Three takeaways from NLDS Game 5

The unlikeliest of heroes

Austin Barnes was probably the last person Dodgers fans thought would help their team win a postseason game. The backup catcher batted .205 with four home runs and 14 RBIs on the season and was 1 for 7 in the playoffs coming into Game 5.

But when Barnes stepped to the plate with Chris Taylor on third base and one out in the fourth inning, the utilityman came through as he grounded a single up the middle to tie the game. Barnes broke the Dodgers' 0 for 7 streak with a runner on third and less than two outs in the NLCS while improving the team's batting average to .300 in the playoffs.

And again, Barnes was literally the least likely person to come through in that situation. According to the Athletic, Barnes hit .111 with runners in scoring position on the season, which was last in MLB among players with 50 or more at-bats (319 qualifiers).

Craig Counsell looked like a genius, until he didn't 

The Brewers manager really was playing chess when everyone else was playing checkers Wednesday. Craig Counsell allowed starter Wade Miley to pitch to one batter (a walk to Cody Bellinger) before he removed him for Brandon Woodruff with no outs in the first inning.

But Counsell couldn't have predicted the effect that move would have later in the game. Barnes, who was in the lineup instead of Yasmani Grandal, drove in the tying run. Max Muncy, who was in the lineup because Los Angeles really didn't have another choice, drove in the go-ahead run. Joc Pederson, who came into replace Freese after one at-bat, also tallied a base hit.

Counsell attempted to control the Dodgers' lineup in Game 5, but as much as he tried to dictate the game by affecting Los Angeles' lineup, he couldn't keep them from scoring runs with moves he more or less forced.

Good Kershaw, Bad Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw has a reputation for being bad in the postseason, but let's look at this situation for what it is: Kershaw has good starts in the playoffs and he has bad ones, as well. He's not some terrible pitcher when the lights are brightest.

Don't believe us? Kershaw has registered 12 quality starts (6 IP, 3 ER or fewer) in 22 career postseason opportunities. In eight of those 12 starts, Kershaw allowed one earned run or less in at least six innings of work. Kershaw has his bad starts yes, but he's not awful. He allowed one earned run in seven innings in Game 5.

And while everyone loves to rag on him, think about this: The Dodgers ace has a better career postseason ERA (4.26) than Chris Sale (5.85), David Price (5.42), CC Sabathia (4.31) and Luis Severino (6.26). He isn't far behind Corey Kluber (3.97). Kershaw gets a bad rap, but he shouldn't be considered a bad postseason pitcher.



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