The Atlanta Braves have jumped out to a 3-1 series lead in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Because of how the postseason schedule was built this year, there are no off days since all games are being played at one neutral-site ballpark. The Dodgers are going to have a little less than 24 hours to regroup and fight to keep their 2020 season alive in Friday’s Game 5.
After Game 4 on Thursday, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters that rookie right-hander Dustin May would be getting the start for the win-or-go-home game. May, 23, threw 1 2/3 innings of relief in Game 1 of the NLCS. He struck out two and gave up just one hit. May’s seventh- and eighth-inning appearances kept it a 1-1 game, before Atlanta scored four runs in the ninth on Monday. May will be set to take the Game 5 start on three days’ rest.
May was used as an opener in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Padres. He threw a single inning, struck out one and walked one while allowing no hits and no runs. It could be that Roberts will follow the same playbook for Game 5. Roberts has already confirmed that Walker Buehler would be used to start in Game 6, if there is a Game 6.
As far as Atlanta’s pitching plan goes for Friday, it’s still to be determined. Braves manager Brian Snitker told reporters that he’ll officially announce a starter on Friday. According to Braves radio host Grant McAuley, Huascar Ynoa and Grant Dayton will be the only relievers unavailable in Game 5, but there’s a chance that Friday’s game could ultimately be a bullpen game for Atlanta. Snitker also added that rookie right-hander Kyle Wright will be available. Wright is coming off a disastrous start in Game 3 of the NLCS where he lasted just two-thirds of an inning and allowed seven runs on five hits. Atlanta would turn to lefty Max Fried if the series goes to a sixth game.
The Dodgers blew the Braves out in Game 3 after being shut down in Game 1 and having a late rally fall short in Game 2. Their Game 4 loss puts their 2020 season on the line. It’s win-or-go home for the Dodgers on Friday night. The Braves, meanwhile, are now one win away from their first NL pennant since 1999.