LA Dodgers at Milwaukee Brewers
Where: Miller Park, Milwaukee
Milwaukee is on a roll with 11 consecutive victories — including a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies in the NL Division Series — and owns homefield advantage after posting the best record (96-67) in the NL. “You can accomplish a lot when you’re just focusing on the present and one game at a time and not getting caught up in the big picture,” Brewers right fielder Christian Yelich said at Thursday’s press conference. “… We’ve seen what’s happened in the past and how it’s unfolded and we’re going to keep that mindset going into this series and we’ll see how it works out for us.” Los Angeles will try to grab the early lead behind left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who tossed eight innings of two-hit shutout ball during a victory in the NL Division Series against the Atlanta Braves. The Dodgers smacked eight homers during their four-game series against the Braves with shortstop Manny Machado and infielder Max Muncy each hitting two.
TV: 8:09 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
PITCHING MATCHUP: Dodgers LH Clayton Kershaw (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Brewers LH Gio Gonzalez (regular season: 10-11, 4.21)
Kershaw put together one of his top postseason performances in the win over Atlanta as he improved to 8-7 with a 4.08 ERA in 25 career appearances (20 starts). The 30-year-old was 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in two turns against Milwaukee this season and stands 6-5 with a 2.86 ERA in 14 career starts against the Brewers. “It’s not that hard to figure out what they’re going to do,” Kershaw said of the Milwaukee hitters at his Thursday press conference. “Maybe have to prepare for one more guy, but I’ve got a pretty good idea of what I’ll see (Friday night).”
Gonzalez went 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA in five starts after being acquired from the Washington Nationals but hasn’t pitched since Sept. 30. The 33-year-old hasn’t earned a decision in six career postseason starts — with 19 walks in only 26 1/3 innings — but has fared well against the Dodgers by going 4-1 with a 1.89 ERA in six career outings. “I’m grateful I get to pitch another postseason game and with another team now,” Gonzalez said in his Thursday press conference. “I was almost on my way home the end of September. So to sit here, and I’m pitching Game 1 of the second round, I think it’s pretty remarkable, pretty incredible.”
1. The Dodgers went 4-3 against the Brewers in the regular season and smacked seven homers in a 21-5 home victory Aug. 2.
2. Los Angeles 1B Cody Bellinger, who hit a grand slam in the August blowout win, is hitless in 11 at-bats during the postseason.
3. Yelich batted .433 with two homers, one triple and four doubles in 30 at-bats against the Dodgers this season.