Kershaw threat in pen
MILWAUKEE — Clayton Kershaw was available in relief for the Dodgers in Game 7 of the NL Championship Series on Saturday night against the Brewers.
The winner plays the Red Sox in the World Series, which opens Tuesday night in Boston.
Kershaw would be pitching on two days’ rest. The three-time Cy Young Award winner was coming off a masterful outing in Game 5 on Wednesday, when he allowed one run on three hits while striking out nine over seven innings in a 5-2 victory at Dodger Stadium.
Manager Dave Roberts said the ace left-hander would head to the bullpen at the start of the game instead of waiting until the later innings.
“It’s hard to see a scenario that he’s not a part of this game,” Roberts said. “I don’t really have a number of pitches or innings. But I do see him being a part of this equation.”
Kershaw has been dominant in relief during recent postseason elimination games. He got the final two outs of a 4-3 victory over the Nationals in Game 5 of the 2016 NL Division Series and pitched four scoreless innings in Game 7 of last year’s World Series, a 5-1 loss to the Astros.
Rookie right-hander Walker Buehler was starting for the Dodgers. He took the loss in Game 3 of the NLCS after allowing four runs on six hits in seven innings.
Roberts topped his lineup with two left-handed sluggers against righty Clayton Kershaw, who was available out of the bullpen for Game 7, warms up during batting practice Saturday.
G1: Brewers 6, Dodgers 5
G2: Dodgers 4, Brewers 3
G3: Brewers 4, Dodgers 0
G4: Dodgers 2, Brewers 1 (13)
G5: Dodgers 5, Brewers 2
G6: Brewers 7, Dodgers 2
G7: Dodgers at Brewers, late
Jhoulys Chacin. Joc Pederson, who hit 25 home runs in the regular season, led off. He was followed by Max Muncy, who hit 35 home runs.
Justin Turner, Manny Machado and Cody Bellinger were next. Bellinger was the third left-handed hitter in the lineup.
Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor, Austin Barnes and Buehler rounded out the order.
The versatile Taylor, starting at second base, was hitting a team-high .350 in the NLCS. Barnes made his fourth straight start at catcher.
The Brewers stuck with the same lineup from Game
6, when they had 11 hits to break out of a slump for a
7-2 victory that tied the series at three games apiece as they rebounded from consecutive losses at Dodger Stadium.
Lorenzo Cain, MVP candidate Christian Yelich and Ryan Braun topped the lineup, followed by Travis Shaw, Jesus Aguilar and Mike Moustakas.
Erik Kratz, Orlando Arcia and Chacin were at the bottom of the order. Arcia, a smooth-fielding shortstop, was hitting .318 in the series with two home runs and three RBIs.
The Brewers also had well-rested relief ace Josh Hader looming in the bullpen after a surprise day off. The rocket-armed reliever hasn’t pitched since Tuesday in Game 4.
“Best-case scenario for sure for us,” manager Craig Counsell said.
Game 7 was the Brewers’ first since losing to the Cardinals in 1982 — their only World Series.