Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals (+118, 5.5)
St. Louis leads the the series 3-2.
With last year's stunning National League Championship Series loss a not-so-distant memory, the St. Louis Cardinals try to close out the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 6 on Friday night. It won't be an easy task for St. Louis, which must face Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw as it attempts to avoid squandering a 3-1 lead in the NLCS for the second straight year. Rookie Michael Wacha will oppose Kershaw in a rematch of Game 2, won by the Cardinals 1-0.
Offense had been at a premium throughout the series until the Dodgers busted out and swatted four homers - two by Adrian Gonzalez - to stave off elimination with a 6-4 victory in Game 5. St. Louis failed to take advantage of some early scoring opportunities on Wednesday but its bats are starting to come around, producing 10 hits after managing a total of 12 in the previous three games. Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday is 5-for-8 with a homer and three RBIs in the last two games.
TV: 8:37 p.m. ET, TBS
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the low-50s. There is a 30 percent chance of showers in the forecast.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Dodgers LH Clayton Kershaw (0-1, 0.00) vs. RH Michael Wacha (1-0, 0.00)
Kershaw was saddled with the loss in Game 2 despite allowing an unearned run on only two hits in his six-inning stint. In three starts this postseason, the likely NL Cy Young Award winner has yielded four runs - one earned - and eight hits while striking out 23 in 19 innings. "Our focus for Game 6 is to score runs for Kershaw and let him do his thing," Gonzalez said. As well as he pitched in Game 2, Kershaw has lost all three starts to St. Louis this season.
Wacha has pitched with the poise of a veteran rather than the rookie who entered the playoffs with nine regular-season starts. He struck out eight in 6 2/3 scoreless innings to outduel Kershaw in Game 2 and was dominant in his NL Division Series start, allowing one run and one hit with nine strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. Wacha's last three outings have been off the charts - the 22-year-old has yielded one run on seven hits while striking out 26 in 22 2/3 innings.
* Over is 6-2-1 in Kershaw's last nine starts vs. Cardinals.
* Dodgers are 0-4 in Kershaw's last four starts vs. Cardinals.
* Cardinals are 10-1 in their last 11 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
UMP TRENDS - Greg Gibson:
* Cardinals are 1-5 in their last six games with Gibson behind home plate.
* Under is 8-3 in Gibson's last 11 games behind home plate vs. St. Louis.
* Home team is 17-5 in Gibson's last 22 games behind home plate vs. Los Angeles.
1. Dodgers SS Hanley Ramirez (ribs) has made early exits in the last two games but will be in the starting lineup Friday.
2. Holliday is 10-for-35 with 10 walks lifetime against Kershaw.
3. The Dodgers have lost six straight postseason series when facing elimination at any point, dating to the 1995 NLDS.