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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.

Mike Trout voted 2019 American League Most Valuable Player

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The Baseball Writers Association of America voted Angels outfielder Mike Trout the Most Valuable Player in the American League for the 2019 season. He received 17 of 30 first-place votes, earning the third AL MVP Award of his career.

Trout, 28, missed the final three weeks of the season due to a foot injury, but his numbers were still strong enough to overcome the competition. He led the majors with a .438 on-base percentage and a 185 adjusted OPS, and led the AL with a .645 slugging percentage and 1.083 OPS. He also slugged 45 home runs, knocked in 104 runs, scored 110 runs, and stole 11 bases in 600 plate appearances. FanGraphs also gave him an edge over the competition in WAR at 8.6.

Trout, who also won the award in 2014 and ’16, is the third Angel to snag the hardware, joining Don Baylor (1979) and Vladimir Guerrero Sr. (2004). He is the 11th player to win three MVP awards, joining Jimmie Foxx, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Álex Rodríguez, Stan Musial, Roy Campanella, Mike Schmidt, Albert Pujols, and Barry Bonds. Bonds is the only player to have won the award more than three times, winning a whopping seven MVP awards.

Alex Bregman finished in a close second place followed by Marcus  Semien, DJ LeMahieu, and Xander Bogaerts. Also receiving votes were Matt Chapman, George Springer, Mookie Betts, Nelson Cruz, Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander, Rafael Devers, Jorge Polanco, Austin Meadows, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Santana, Gleyber Torres, Eddie Rosario, José Abreu, Max Kepler, J.D. Martinez, Yoán Moncada, Charlie Morton, Matt Olson, and Jorge Soler.