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Clayton Kershaw pitches Dodgers past Brewers 5-2; Dodgers take 3-2 NLCS lead

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw bounced back from his rough outing in Game 1 of the NLCS, this time limiting the Brewers to one run over seven innings in Game 5 on Wednesday evening. He held the Brewers to three hits and a pair of walks while striking out nine on 98 pitches. The Dodgers went on to win 5-2, taking a 3-2 lead in the NLCS.

The Brewers opened the scoring in the third inning when Lorenzo Cain hit an RBI double to straightaway center field. Kershaw later walked Ryan Braun to load the bases with two outs but struck out Jesús Aguilar to escape the jam. He then put up zeroes in the fourth through seventh innings. Kershaw retired the final 13 batters he faced.

The Dodgers’ offense woke up in the midgame, playing the tying run in the fifth inning on an Austin Barnes RBI single to center against Brandon Woodruffthe de facto starter. The Dodgers took the lead in the sixth on RBI singles by Max Muncy (off of Woodruff) and Yasiel Puig (off of Corbin Burnes). Justin Turner added an RBI single in the seventh followed by a Brian Dozier RBI ground out as the Dodgers appeared to finally remember how to hit with runners in scoring position. They were 1-for-14 with RISP combined in Games 3 and 4. They were 4-for-11 in Game 5.

Pedro Báez took over for Kershaw in the eighth and once again pitched brilliantly. Entering Wednesday’s appearance, he had thrown 5 2/3 scoreless innings in the postseason with nine strikeouts while allowing four base runners on two hits and two walks. It was more of the same for Báez, who worked a 1-2-3 frame.

Manager Dave Roberts called on Caleb Ferguson to start the ninth inning against fellow lefty Christian Yelich. Yelich grounded out and in came the right-handed Ryan Madson. Madson got Braun to ground out, then gave up back-to-back doubles to Aguilar and pinch-hitter Curtis Granderson to make it 5-2. Roberts didn’t want to, but he had to bring closer Kenley Jansen in to close it out. He did, getting Mike Moustakas to go down swinging to end the game 5-2 in the Dodgers’ favor.

Both teams will take Thursday off to travel back to Milwaukee. The Dodgers can punch their ticket back to the World Series on Friday with a victory over the Brewers. Wade Miley will start for the Brewers, likely against Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Report: Nathan Eovaldi drawing interest from at least nine teams

Nathan Eovaldi
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Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.

Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.

A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.