Each game in this series has been won by the underdog
While everyone thought the Dodgers were about to tie the series, Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday broke out of his 0-22 slump in Dodger Stadium and got his first hit of the series. It was a big two-run home run that gave the Cardinals a 3-0 lead early in the game. The Cardinals offense chased LA starter Ricky Nolasco out of the game early and tacked on an insurance run on a home run off the bat of Shane Robinson. It was his first hit in a postseason game in his eleventh postseason at bat.
The Dodgers scored two runs on RBI hits by Yasiel Puig and A.J. Ellis, but hurt their own chances of tying the game late with some poor base running. In the ninth inning St. Louis closer Trevor Rosenthal absolutely blew away the Dodger hitters with his blazing fastballs.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, the team with the biggest payroll in the National League, have their backs against the wall. They’ve lost the first two games with their aces on the mound and will lean heavily on their aces to get them to a possible Game 7. Zack Greinke, who lost Game 1, will be the pitcher today and Clayton Kershaw would follow on Friday, if the Dodgers can manage to get the series back to St. Louis.
The key to either team winning this game is busting out the big bats and piling up some runs. This has been one of the lowest scoring postseason series of all time. The Dodgers have only scored seven runs in the first four games of the series and catcher A.J. Ellis is the only hitter with an average over .300 (.308). The Cardinals on the other hand have scored twelve runs in four games and actually have a worse team average in the series than the Dodgers, but like the regular season, they have been good with runners on base.
Coming back from a 3-1 deficit is very hard, but it has been done before, most recently by the San Francisco Giants last year in the NLCS on their way to a World Series title. They beat… wait for it.. the St. Louis Cardinals, who only managed to score one run in the final three games of the series.
Game 5 pitching matchup
Zack Greinke (15-3, 2.67 ERA) vs. Joe Kelly (10-5, 2.69)
Greinke outpitched Kelly in Game 1. The Dodgers righty went eight innings and allowed two runs on only four hits and struck out ten Cardinals. Joe Kelly, meanwhile, also allowed two runs (on six hits), but went just six innings.
It will be interesting to see how Greinke handles the pressure of pitching in an elimination game. There have been questions in the past about his demeanor in high pressure situations. He was rumored to be slightly socially challenged and was deemed unable to perform in Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park under the high expectations the fans would have for him had he been traded to either one of those teams.
For some reason the Dodgers are heavier favorites than in any previous game in this series, according to the bookies. They are listed at -173, while the Cardinals, gunning for a spot in the World Series, are underdogs at +163.
With Greinke, the Dodgers normally should be favorites, but in this series the underdog has won every game and it could earn you a lot of money if the Cards clinch today.