Friday, October 16, 2020, Globe Life Park, Arlington, Texas, 9:08 p.m. ET
Dodgers at Braves Betting Preview: Dodgers (TBA), Braves (TBA)
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are in a deep hole as they try to avoid another postseason with a disappointing ending. The epic Game 3 performance didn’t have a carryover effect 24 hours later, and Los Angeles is facing elimination in either the National League Championship Series (twice) or World Series (twice) for the fourth time in the past five seasons.
Because of their recent postseason history, there is a lot of pressure on the Dodgers as they enter at least one — if not two or three — must-win contests.
Prized offseason acquisition Mookie Betts (2-for-14, .143) is struggling in the series and reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger (3-for-16, .188) also is in a funk, with two of his hits (and his one homer) coming in the Wednesday blowout.
Los Angeles could use both of their bats to come alive to help out red-hot Corey Seager (6-for-16, .375, with two homers and seven RBIs) and reliable veteran Justin Turner (5-for-16, .313). Edwin Rios drove in both runs in Game 4 on a homer and a sacrifice fly, and he has two long balls in just eight at-bats in the series.
Right-hander Dustin May, who will start Game 5, has a 1.13 career postseason ERA in five appearances (one start) over the past two seasons. May has pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings in three appearances this postseason — including 1 2/3 innings against Atlanta in Game 1 — yielding one hit and two walks while fanning six.
The Braves are one victory away from reaching the World Series for the first time since 1999 and have a high level of confidence after a 10-2 win Thursday.
The NLCS looked as if it could go either way after Atlanta was routed 15-3 in Game 3, but the Braves bounced back with a ferocious 14-hit effort that included Marcell Ozuna going 4-for-5 with two homers and four RBIs. The assault gives Atlanta three chances to notch one victory.
NL MVP candidate Freddie Freeman is batting .429 (6-for-14) with two homers and six RBIs in the NLCS after having two hits and driving in two runs Thursday.
Leadoff hitter Ronald Acuna Jr. had two hits and scored twice as the top three hitters — Acuna, Freeman and Ozuna — were a combined 8-for-14 with six runs and six RBIs. Ozzie Albies, who also had two hits in Game 4, has been superb in the series, going 8-for-17 (.471) with two homers and four RBIs.
Braves manager Brian Snitker declined to disclose his Game 5 starter, so it appears it will be one of those games where several hurlers see time on the mound. Snitker insisted that ace left-hander Max Fried wouldn’t be the starter, so it appears he is saving the NL Cy Young Award candidate for a possible Game 6.
NLCS Betting Pick for Game 5: Dodgers at Braves
Atlanta looks to be on the verge of closing out the series, but there is no telling what can happen in a bullpen game. All it takes is one Braves reliever to have a subpar outing and the game can get away.
There is certainly opportunity for Los Angeles to post a victory in Game 5, particularly if either Betts or Bellinger can find his stroke. The Dodgers have been in this position before, and they aren’t a team that will go down without a fight.
Dodgers at Braves Betting Pick:
Dodgers 7, Braves 5
NLCS Best Bet for Game 5: Dodgers at Braves
The winning team has scored in double digits in each of the past two games and there have been at least 12 runs scored in each of the past three games. Look for another high-scoring contest in Game 5.
Dodgers at Braves Best Bet: OVER (run total and odds TBA)
–Field Level Media