Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:56 AM

NLDS Game 5 Essentials

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St. Louis (-112/8) at Atlanta, 5:02 pm ET, TBS

2019 Head-to-Head Matchups (Atlanta 6-4, Under 6-4)

Oct. 3 – Cardinals 7, Braves 6 (Over 9)
Oct. 4 – Braves 3, Cardinals 0 (Under 8.5)
Oct. 6 – Braves 3, Cardinals 1 (Under 8.5)
Oct. 7 – Cardinals 5, Braves 4 (Over 8)

St. Louis vs. Atlanta (SunTrust Park)
May 14 – Cardinals 14, Braves 3 (Over 9)
May 15 – Braves 4, Cardinals 0 (Under 10)
May 16 – Braves 10, Cardinals 2 (Over 10)

Atlanta vs. St. Louis (Busch Stadium)
May 24 – Braves 5, Cardinals 2 (Under 10)
May 25 – Cardinals 6, Braves 3 (Under 9 ½)
May 26 – Braves 4, Cardinals 3 (Under 9)

The Braves are hoping their 2019 season contains a 100th win. The NL East champs blew a Game 4 lead in St. Louis on Monday night, allowing the NL Central champion Cardinals at least one more game in a season where they’ve overcome numerous injuries and a slow start from top offseason acquisition Paul Goldschmidt. Facing a 4-3 deficit in the eighth, the Cards got an RBI single from Yadier Molina, who won it with a sacrifice fly in the 10th.

Despite being on the road for the deciding game, St. Louis enters as a slight favorite due to Jack Flaherty’s presence on the mound. The Cards’ 23-year-old ace has been named NL Pitcher of the Month for both August and September after going 7-2 with an 0.78 ERA to close the season and allowed less than a run per game since the All-Star break, joining Cards legend Bob Gibson and Chicago’s Jake Arrieta as the only pitchers ever to do that.

Home teams are just 13-19 in Game 5s in the divisional series round, which is an ominous stat for a Braves team that went 50-31 in Atlanta this season.

Flaherty lost Game 2 but pitched effectively, working seven innings in the 3-0 loss. He allowed a two-run homer to Adam Duvall in the seventh to spoil an otherwise excellent start, but the eight hits he surrendered were the second-most he’s given up this season. Flaherty was 1-0 in two regular-season starts against the Braves, working 12 innings of three-run ball. He’s had his issues at SunTrust Park, walking a season-high five batters in a 14-3 win on May 14. Freddie Freeman has gone 3-for-8 against the Cy Young candidate with a home run.

Mike Foltynewicz was the surprise winner when these teams played last Friday, winning the duel with Flaherty by pitching seven shutout innings of three-hit ball on an economical 81 pitches. The 28-year-old was demoted to the minors in June but was tremendous upon returning, winning six straight decisions before losing his final regular-season start. He was 2-5 with a 6.37 ERA before being sent down after struggling to find his form due to an injury in spring training. He worked on spotting his fastball in the minors and ended up 5-1 at Gwinnett before returning, so he’s been in an excellent groove and will look to pick up where he left off last week against the Redbirds.

Kolten Wong is almost certain to be in St. Louis’ lineup since he’s 5-for-11 against Foltynewicz with a homer and three doubles. Marcell Ozuna has a pair of homers against him while Molina, Dexter Fowler, Paul DeJong and Matt Carpenter have all gone deep once. Goldschmidt is batting just .190 against him (4-for-21) with no extra-base hits and 10 strikeouts.

Nearly everyone is expected to be available for this elimination game, so it will be interesting to see how quick the hook is for both starters as managers Mike Shildt and Brian Snitker look to manage their teams into the NLCS.

Miles Mikolas pitched the 10th to end up with the save and started Game 1 of this series, so he’s clearly someone Shildt trusts. Adam Wainwright pitched incredibly well early in his start, so the veteran Georgia native could get work. Closer Carlos Martinez threw a scoreless ninth in bouncing back from blowing a lead earlier in the series. The Braves have used lefty Max Fried out of the bullpen and saw ace Mike Soroka work seven innings of two-hit, one-run ball in his postseason debut, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him if Snitker feels he can work after a great Game 3 start.

The Braves are looking to end an NLCS drought that dates back to 2001, having lost seven straight NLDS matchups. The Cardinals are looking to make their first NLCS since 2014.

Washington at L.A. Dodgers (-163/7), 8:37 pm ET, TBS

2019 Head-to-Head Matchups (Los Angeles 6-5, Under 7-3-1)

Oct. 3 – Dodgers 6, Nationals 0 (Under 7.5)
Oct. 4 – Nationals 4, Dodgers 2 (Under 7.5)
Oct. 6 – Dodgers 10, Nationals 4 (Over 9)
Oct. 7 – Nationals 6, Dodgers 1 (Under 8)

Washington vs. Los Angeles (Dodger Stadium)
May 9 – Nationals 6, Dodgers 0 (Under 7)
May 10 – Dodgers 5, Nationals 0 (Under 8 ½)
May 11 – Nationals 5, Dodgers 2 (Push 7)
May 12 – Dodgers 6, Nationals 0 (Under 7 ½)

Los Angeles vs. Washington (Nationals Park)
July 26 – Dodgers 4, Nationals 2 (Under 9 ½)
July 27 – Dodgers 9, Nationals 3 (Over 10 ½)
July 28 – Nationals 11, Dodgers 4 (Over 8 ½)

The Dodgers are hoping their run to a third straight World Series doesn’t end prematurely but face quite the challenge in even getting back to the NLCS. After struggling against Max Scherzer clear across the country in D.C. on Monday night, they’ll now have to deal with Stephen Strasburg back in L.A.

Walker Buehler, who is pitching on regular rest after throwing six shutout innings of one-hit ball in a 6-0 win in Game 1, will have Clayton Kershaw waiting in the wings if he struggles after working six frames in a Game 2 upset loss. Patrick Corbin is available to work a few innings if Strasburg struggles, but the plan is to have the Cy Young favorite work as long as he can go. Strasburg won the wild card game over the Brewers with three frames of scoreless relief and bounced back on a couple days rest to throw 85 pitches in last Friday’s win over Kershaw and the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine.

The Dodgers led the National League in runs scored (886) and posted 59 home victories, one behind Houston for most in all of baseball. Despite a magical year, it can all end prematurely if Strasburg has it going again. Only A.J. Pollock (7-for-14) and Justin Turner (4-for-14) have strong numbers against the San Diego native, with Pollock owning a homer, a triple, and two doubles against him. Kike Hernandez has two homers against Strasburg while Joc Pederson and Corey Seager have each gone deep once against him, but that trio is collectively 4-for-32 when facing the Nats’ star, with all the hits leaving the yard.

The Nationals wouldn’t have even made it this far had they not gotten a two-out hit from Juan Soto against Brewers’ closer Josh Hader in a 4-3 wild card win in which they capitalized on a costly error by Milwaukee rookie RF Trent Grisham. They cruised into the postseason as the top wild card after Atlanta ran away with the NL East and finished with the second-highest run differential in the National League (+149) behind Los Angeles, setting the stage for this winner-take-all game.

Strasburg is hoping his finest season doesn’t end prematurely as Washington is 23-12 in games he’s appeared in. In his three starts against the Dodgers this season, Strasburg gave up just four earned runs over 19 innings, striking out 26 and walking two.

The Dodgers lost both starts Buehler made against the Nats during the regular season but manager Dave Roberts still picked him over Kershaw to start L.A.’s postseason opener and had his faith rewarded through a dominant Game 1 performance. If he fails in this spot, that decision will undoubtedly be second-guessed, although Kershaw’s availability to work here could temper criticism. Nats star Anthony Rendon is 3-for-6 with two doubles against Buehler, while Brian Dozier and Victor Robles have each gone 3-for-5 with a homer and triple between them. Gerardo Parra also has a homer against him and is 13-for-41 with a homer against Kershaw, so there’s a chance we’ll see the 32-year-old lefty at some point.

Washington is looking for revenge for a 2016 NLDS loss that the Dodgers claimed in five games. The Nats haven’t reached an NLCS since moving to D.C. from Montreal in 2005 and have repeatedly come up short in this critical fifth game. If Strasburg has a gem in him, the Nats could end L.A.’s National League reign and pay off handsomely since their an underdog in the +160 range despite the presence of one of the game’s top pitchers. For a complimentary selection on this game, check out VI's Free Picks.

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