Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Brewers-Dodgers G5: Lineups, matchups, FAQs

MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- There's no time to be tired for the Brewers and Dodgers, who departed after midnight following a 13-inning marathon in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series and will be back on the field this afternoon for Game 5 to decide which team moves within one victory of the World Series.

NLCS presented by Google Assistant, Game 5: Today, 5:05 p.m. ET on FS1

View Full Game Coverage

LOS ANGELES -- There's no time to be tired for the Brewers and Dodgers, who departed after midnight following a 13-inning marathon in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series and will be back on the field this afternoon for Game 5 to decide which team moves within one victory of the World Series.

NLCS presented by Google Assistant, Game 5: Today, 5:05 p.m. ET on FS1

View Full Game Coverage

It could be Clayton Kershaw's last start as a Dodger, though he'll have a more immediate task at hand trying to shed a disappointing performance in Game 1 at Miller Park. Brewers starter Wade Miley will seek to do just the opposite after a brilliant performance in Game 2.

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

Both starters may be asked to eat quite a few innings, since both bullpens worked very hard in the Dodgers' 2-1 win in Game 4. Who's available, and how extensively, will be one of the key questions today. Here's a look at where the teams stand with the series tied at two games apiece:

What might the starting lineups look like?
Brewers: They will stick with mostly the same lineup they used against Kershaw in Game 1, with Erik Kratz in place of Manny Pina because Kratz handles Miley's starts:

1. Lorenzo Cain, CF
2. Christian Yelich, RF
3. Ryan Braun, LF
4. Jesus Aguilar, 1B
5. Hernan Perez, 2B
6. Mike Moustakas, 3B
7. Erik Kratz, C
8. Orlando Arcia, SS
9. Wade Miley, P

Cain, Yelich look to get timing right in NLCS

Dodgers: Only Chris Taylor and Justin Turner had hits off Miley in Game 2, so manager Dave Roberts gets both in the lineup for Game 5. Brian Dozier delivered in Game 4, but Max Muncy gets the start at second base.

1. Cody Bellinger, CF
2. Justin Turner, 3B
3. David Freese, 1B
4. Manny Machado, SS
5. Max Muncy, 2B
6. Chris Taylor, LF
7. Enrique Hernanadez, RF
8. Austin Barnes, C
9. Clayton Kershaw, P

Who are the starting pitchers?
Brewers: Convention says the Brewers will need length from Miley after digging so deep into the bullpen on Tuesday night, but that's complicated by the fact the veteran left-hander will be pitching on short rest since the first start of his first full season in 2012 with the D-backs. That start followed a relief outing. Miley has been terrific for the Brewers all season, starting 18 times and allowing three or fewer earned runs each time out, including a pair of scoreless starts in the postseason. He delivered 5 2/3 scoreless innings in Game 2 and chipped in two hits.

Video: NLCS Gm5: Miley on approach vs. Dodgers in Game 5

Dodgers: Not much on the mind of Kershaw (9-5, 2.73 ERA), other than he's starting the pivotal game in the series, he has that postseason narrative dogging him and, oh, it might be his last as a Dodger with a potential opt-out looming. His Game 1 start was a mess, from Yasmani Grandal's meltdown behind the plate to the home run Kershaw allowed to reliever Brandon Woodruff. Still, he's the best pitcher of his generation, and he's on full rest. It will shock almost no one if he's outstanding.

Video: NLCS Gm5: Kershaw on yearly playoff contention

How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Brewers: Josh Hader has never pitched three straight days, but that would be the ask if the Brewers use him in Game 5 after eight pitches in Game 3 and 20 in Game 4. Corey Knebel could also be limited after 19 pitches in Game 3 and 18 in Game 4. Still, Counsell will have arms to draw from, since Jeremy Jeffress was not used Tuesday night, nor was Woodruff, the right-handed throwing, left-handed hitting threat who homered off Kershaw in Game 1 at Miller Park. The Brewers replaced Gio Gonzalez, who went down in the second inning with a left high ankle sprain, with righty Zach Davies.

Davies replaces injured Gio on Brewers roster

Dodgers: After the Game 4 marathon, in which every reliever on the roster was used, Game 5 will be as tricky for the Dodgers as the Brewers. Kenta Maeda and Caleb Ferguson should be the freshest and capable of going two innings each.

Video: NLCS Gm 4: Roberts talks 13-inning, 2-1 win

Are there any relievers who are unavailable?
Brewers: Hader, if the Brewers stick to the regular season formula that got them here.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Hader strikes out Kemp, escapes jam

Dodgers: Kenley Jansen pitched two innings (34 pitches) in Game 4 for the first time since last year's World Series, but he'll probably take the ball if it means a save. It's worth noting that he did throw a shutout inning the day after those two innings in the 2017 Fall Classsic. Game 4 winner Julio Urias hasn't pitched on consecutive days since shoulder surgery. Alex Wood and Dylan Floro have pitched two straight days each so they will be limited, if available at all.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Urias freezes Moustakas in the 13th

Any injuries of note?
Brewers: Since Gonzalez was replaced on the NLCS roster, he is ineligible for the World Series should the Brewers advance. He did not speak to reporters after Game 4.

Dodgers: No.

Video: NLCS Gm 5: Roberts on expectations for Kershaw

Who is hot and who is not?
Brewers: The Brewers have too many hitters in the "not" category. After three hits in Game 1, including a pair of singles off Kershaw, Cain is 1-for-15 in Games 2-4. Christian Yelich is 3-for-16 in the series including a bunt hit and an infield hit, though he's taken four walks to push his on-base percentage to .350. Mike Moustakas is 2-for-17 after joining Cain in the 0-for-6 club in Game 4. The only Brewers hitter who distinguished himself on Tuesday was Ryan Braun, who tallied three hits plus a scorching groundout that spun Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner around in the third inning.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Cain discusses recent batting struggles

Dodgers: Bellinger is hitting only .214 in the series, but his confidence has to be on the improve after a walk-off hit in Game 4. Manny Machado had only one hit that broke his bat, but he seems to play a part whenever the Dodgers win. Oddly, Turner is batting only .167. Yasmani Grandal figures to sit again and watch Austin Barnes start at catcher. Ryan Madson is a season-saver middle reliever.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Roberts, Bellinger, Machado on Game 4 win

Anything else fans might want to know?
The Dodgers are 4-8 and the Brewers are 0-2 when tied 2-2 in best-of-seven NLCS. After Games 3 and 4 started late enough that the Dodger Stadium shadows didn't figure in the festivities, keep an eye on hitters' swings in the early innings of Game 5, with first pitch at 2:05 p.m. PT.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers

How Yelich vs. Kershaw may go down in Game 5

MLB.com @mike_petriello

"Christian Yelich has Clayton Kershaw's number," you might hear in regards to today's Game 5 of the National League Championship Series.

You'll hear that because their head-to-head numbers are gaudy, tilted in Yelich's favor: He owns a .500/.550/.889 line in 20 plate appearances, including the postseason. It's the highest OPS any hitter has off of Kershaw, among the many who have faced him at least 20 times.

"Christian Yelich has Clayton Kershaw's number," you might hear in regards to today's Game 5 of the National League Championship Series.

You'll hear that because their head-to-head numbers are gaudy, tilted in Yelich's favor: He owns a .500/.550/.889 line in 20 plate appearances, including the postseason. It's the highest OPS any hitter has off of Kershaw, among the many who have faced him at least 20 times.

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

NLCS presented by Google Assistant, Game 5: Today, 5:05 p.m. ET/2:05 p.m. PT on FS1

It's a loud line. It's also all but completely meaningless, as nearly all hitter-versus-pitcher numbers are. The simplest reason for that is that the samples are too small to have any predictive value, small enough in most cases that a lucky bloop here, a fantastic defensive play there, or four at-bats on a very windy day could change the story entirely.

If the hitter happened to be playing through the flu, or if the pitcher was trying to hide an injured elbow, that could change everything. There's just not enough data here.

Even in the rare cases where you do have a sizable amount of head-to-head appearances, much of that information is so old as to be useless. Take Felix Hernandez against Ian Kinsler, for example. They've faced each other 105 times, but some of that dates back a dozen years ago to 2006. Clearly, neither player is anywhere near the same now as they were back then.

Let's take this knowledge and apply it to Game 5, by looking at one matchup from both sides. In addition to Yelich and Kershaw, we can take a look at Cody Bellinger against Wade Miley. The outcomes may not be what you expect.

Kershaw vs. Yelich

.600 average / 1.067 slugging since 2015
.298 expected average / .536 expected slugging

Yelich had been in the Majors for about a month when he first faced Kershaw in 2013, and it actually didn't go very well for him: He walked once, then struck out swinging three straight times. 

They've had 16 plate appearances over six games since then, all since 2015, and these are far more interesting to us, because we can apply Statcast™ data to them. With that '13 game out of the way, Yelich's line increases to .600/.625/1.067 since. That's nine hits -- three for extra bases -- out of 12 batted balls. 

Some of those balls have very legitimately been crushed, like this July 21 home run that came off the bat at 105.5 mph. There's no talking around that.

Video: LAD@MIL: Yelich hammers a solo dinger to center field

You can say the same for this Aug. 2 blast, which Yelich hit at 109.5 mph for an estimated 381-foot home run.

Video: MIL@LAD: Yelich belts a solo homer off Kershaw in 5th

But you'll notice that his expected average and slugging, derived from the usual outcomes of exit velocity and launch angle, is a more human .298/.536. That's still very good, it's just not otherworldly. 

How? Because some of those hits were, for lack of a better word, fortunate. Here's Yelich beating out a 2016 single that didn't even make it halfway to the mound.

Video: LAD@MIA: Yelich reaches on infield single off Kershaw 

Here's an infield single right back to Kershaw in 2015, hit at all of 82.4 mph.

Video: LAD@MIA: Yelich hits infield knock off Kershaw's mitt

And, earlier in the same game, another grounder right up the middle, this time it is one that Jimmy Rollins was unable to convert into an out.

Video: LAD@MIA : Yelich hits infield single up the middle

It's not that those hits don't matter, don't count, can't be turned into runs on the board. Of course they can. It's just that there are a lot of ways to get to a .500 average. Some of them involve actual crushed baseballs. Some of them involve some weakly hit balls. Very little of it is actually predictive.  

After all, if we'd done this entering last Friday's Game 1, Yelich's line against Kershaw would have been .529/.556/.941. It would have been viewed as a massive advantage. He struck out and walked, putting no balls in play.

Bellinger vs. Miley

.200 average / .200 slugging 
.367 expected average / .736 expected slugging

It's the opposite story on the other side, where Miley has limited Bellinger -- note that .200 average matched by a .200 slugging percentage -- while the underlying metrics suggest that Bellinger has had more success than it would appear. Of course, the entire point here is that you shouldn't really put much stock in either set of numbers, because we're talking about six plate appearances (six!) that all took place in the span of 11 days in July. This is why these numbers are generally more trouble than they're worth.

But if you must, let's at least show how Bellinger got to "1-for-6 with a walk and a strikeout," because if the Dodgers repeat their lineup from Game 2, then Chris Taylor is perhaps likely to get the start in center over Bellinger, and this is the kind of data that the Dodgers will evaluate in making their decision. 

Again: We're talking about all of four batted balls, one of which became a ground-ball single. Interestingly, however, that ball (hit at 91.6 mph) was the softest-hit ball Bellinger has had against Miley. Each of the three other times he made contact, the ball was hit hard. It just never turned into success.

The most interesting one of these came on July 31, when Bellinger hit a ball at 102.3 mph for what looked certain to be a home run ... until Lorenzo Cain stepped in. 

Video: MIL@LAD: Cain takes a home run away from Bellinger

Cain took a hit away from Bellinger again that day, though in somewhat less spectacular fashion. Bellinger's 99.4 mph lineout had a 51 percent hit probability.

Video: MIL@LAD: Bellinger lines out sharply to center field

And on July 20, Bellinger had another hard-hit ball, this time a 101 mph shot up the middle that would have been an easy single, if not for the fact that shortstop Tyler Saladino had been shifted up the middle. That Saladino was unable to collect it smoothly meant that it went into the books as an error, not a hit, but it doesn't change how hard it was squared up.

Video: LAD@MIL: Bellinger reaches on error in the 6th

If this sounds a little familiar for Bellinger, it's because leading into Game 3, we talked about how he'd hit .417/.500/1.083 against Milwaukee starter Jhoulys Chacin. Of course, one of those hits was this "triple," thanks to some ineffective San Diego defense back in 2017.

Video: LAD@SD: Bellinger hits a triple to shallow center

Despite that flashy line, Bellinger grounded out, twice.

Pitcher vs. hitter stat lines just aren't very predictive or informative. They can't be. There's just not enough information. So in Game 5, Yelich might crush Kershaw, and he may not make solid contact at all. Either outcome is an expected one -- no matter what the narrative might say.

Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast.

Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Cody Bellinger, Clayton Kershaw, Wade Miley, Christian Yelich

Machado called out as 'dirty' after eventful G4

Shortstop scores winning run after benches-clearing incident in extras
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

LOS ANGELES -- Manny Machado is making a name for himself in ways both welcome and unwanted in this National League Championship Series.

NLCS presented by Google Assistant, Game 5: Today, 5:05 p.m. ET/2:05 PT on FS1

View Full Game Coverage

LOS ANGELES -- Manny Machado is making a name for himself in ways both welcome and unwanted in this National League Championship Series.

NLCS presented by Google Assistant, Game 5: Today, 5:05 p.m. ET/2:05 PT on FS1

View Full Game Coverage

Before he hit a broken-bat single, advanced to second on a wild pitch and jetted home on Cody Bellinger's walk-off single to right field in the 13th inning in a 2-1 victory over the Brewers on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, Machado answered criticism in an FS1 interview about not running hard down the first-base line in Game 2. He said he will never be "Johnny Hustle" and that running down the line and sliding into bases is not his "cup of tea."

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

Ironically, Machado sparked controversy when he hustled down the line on a groundout in the 10th, and helped win the game with two effort plays in the 13th.

In the 10th, Machado dragged his left leg into Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar's back leg as he crossed first base. The contact angered Aguilar, leading to a heated exchange and clearing both benches and bullpens.

"It's a dirty play by a dirty player," Brewers right fielder Christian Yelich said.

"It looked like it," Aguilar said. "I've known Manny for many years and I don't know why he would act like that."

Brewers manager Craig Counsell threw shade at Machado when asked if the play went beyond the grounds of hard play.

"I don't know," he said. "I guess they got tangled up at first base. I don't think he's playing all that hard."

Machado professed that he could not get out of the way of Aguilar's leg, although he never raised his own leg to avoid it.

"If that's dirty, that's dirty," Machado said. "I don't know, call it what you want. I play baseball. I try to go out there and win for my team. If that's their comments, that's their comments. I can't do nothing about that."

Aguilar and Machado chatted at first base in the 13th inning, with Aguilar patting Machado at one point.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Machado on altercation with Aguilar

"We talked," Aguilar said. "It's over. For me, it's over."

Video: NLCS Gm 4: Aguilar addresses exchange with Machado

"We go way back," Machado said, referring to the pair playing against each other early in their Minor League careers. "Whatever happens on the field … stays between the lines."

But it might not be finished for Aguilar's teammates.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Dodgers, Crew on Machado-Aguilar incident

"I saw it from center field," Brewers center fielder Lorenzo Cain said. "I'll have to get in there and look at it to really give you my opinion. Nobody wants to get their ankle stepped on. I'll look at it, and if it looks dirty, we'll see what happens."

"You can't respect someone who plays the game like that," Yelich said. "I don't know what his problem is, honestly."

Video: NLCS Gm4: Yelich reacts to Machado's baserunning

It should make the NLCS more interesting with Game 5 this afternoon. It should make Machado's postseason more interesting, too. The baseball world is watching him as he prepares to enter the free-agent market in the offseason, when he hopes to fetch one of the most lucrative contracts in baseball history. Machado entered Game 4 hitting .455 (5-for-11) with one double, one home run and three RBIs. He was hitless in his first five plate appearances before singling in the 13th.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Brewers discuss tough loss to Dodgers

Todd Zolecki has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Jesus Aguilar, Manny Machado

This reliever will be in high demand this offseason

Data shows that Ottavino is among best in game out of bullpen
MLB.com @mike_petriello

The most interesting reliever available in this offseason free-agent market has relatively uninspiring career stats, at least in a traditional sense. He's never had more than seven saves in a season. His career record is 17-20; his ERA is 3.68. He's never made an All-Star team, and he won't generate the same headlines as more celebrated arms like Andrew Miller and Zach Britton might.

Absolutely none of that matters, of course. In a market full of far bigger names and much flashier stats, the reliever who is going to get the contract that shocks you is going to be Adam Ottavino, for the past seven seasons a member of the Colorado Rockies. It's not entirely about what he's done; it's about what teams think he might be able to do. That is, no team cares about Ottavino's 4.56 ERA in 2012 at this point. What can he offer in '19, '20 and '21?

The most interesting reliever available in this offseason free-agent market has relatively uninspiring career stats, at least in a traditional sense. He's never had more than seven saves in a season. His career record is 17-20; his ERA is 3.68. He's never made an All-Star team, and he won't generate the same headlines as more celebrated arms like Andrew Miller and Zach Britton might.

Absolutely none of that matters, of course. In a market full of far bigger names and much flashier stats, the reliever who is going to get the contract that shocks you is going to be Adam Ottavino, for the past seven seasons a member of the Colorado Rockies. It's not entirely about what he's done; it's about what teams think he might be able to do. That is, no team cares about Ottavino's 4.56 ERA in 2012 at this point. What can he offer in '19, '20 and '21?

We'll get there. But let's start by pointing out just how strong Ottavino was this past season, when he very legitimately was one of the best relievers in the game.

In 2018, there were 91 relievers who faced 250 batters, or about three per team. We can attempt to look at their performance independent of defense or ballpark -- important, considering where Ottavino called home -- by looking at a Statcast™ quality-of-contact metric that accounts for strikeouts, walks and the exit velocity and launch angle allowed at the point of contact. It's called "Expected wOBA," and the Major League average for relievers is .304.

By that measure, the best relievers this year were:

.211 -- Edwin Diaz, Mariners
.227 -- Blake Treinen, A's
.229 -- Adam Ottavino, Rockies
.230 -- Josh Hader, Brewers
.236 -- Dellin Betances, Yankees
.241 -- Ryan Pressly, Twins/Astros
.244 -- Taylor Rogers, Twins
.247 -- Wade Davis, Rockies 

... and whether or not you're familiar with that particular metric, the names make sense. Diaz, Treinen and Hader just had three historically strong seasons by just about any measure. Betances bounced back from an up-and-down 2017 to strike out 115 in 66 2/3 innings for the Yankees, and we've been talking up Pressly as a breakout star for months. (What of the relatively unknown Rogers, you say? Perhaps we should be talking about him; he struck out 75 in 68 1/3 innings and allowed just three home runs.)

The point is that it's a list you want to be near the top of, and it might be about now that you're noticing that we're saying that Ottavino was essentially as good as Hader, so let's talk about that.

Video: NYM@COL: Ottavino K's Plawecki, the side in the 8th

Hader struck out more batters (46.7 percent) than Ottavino did (36.3 percent). He also walked fewer (9.8 percent) than Ottavino did (11.7 percent). Advantage: Hader.

But when contact was made, Ottavino was harder to square up. His 29.9 percent hard-hit rate was better than Hader's 31.8 percent; his 43 percent ground-ball rate was much higher than Hader's 28.9 percent.

Ottavino isn't as dominating as Hader, not in a pure strikeout sense. But there's value in preventing damage on batted balls, too, and thanks to inducing softer contact and keeping the ball on the ground more, Ottavino closed the gap. Hader may have been the National League's standout reliever in 2018; Ottavino wasn't far behind. 

Those numbers are not park-adjusted, remember, which means that so far, Ottavino hasn't been given any credit for the difficulties of his home park. (Not that he had many; he was actually much better at home this year, .124/.223/.195, than he was on the road, .184/.305/.272.)

If we go ahead and do that with a park-adjusted stat like OPS+, where 100 is "league average," we'll get some very similar names. Among all relievers who threw 50 innings this year:

14 OPS+ -- Jose Leclerc, Rangers
17 OPS+ -- Blake Treinen, A's
33 OPS+ -- Josh Hader, Brewers
33 OPS+ -- Edwin Diaz, Mariners
34 OPS+ -- Adam Ottavino, Rockies
37 OPS+ -- Aroldis Chapman, Yankees
40 OPS+ -- Seranthony Dominguez, Phillies

Ottavino is again in the top five, right by Treinen, Hader and Diaz. (LeClerc may be the best reliever you don't know, as he put up a 1.56 ERA and struck out 85 in 57 2/3 innings for Texas.)

So it's not at all hard to make the case that Ottavino was one of the five best regular relievers in the game in 2018, and therefore it's not that hard to look at the list of available free-agent relievers and show that he's going to be one of the most sought-after arms there. Let's take a somewhat-arbitrary list of the 10 biggest names who should be available this offseason, and compare Ottavino with each of them based on their 2018 stats. He fares very well.

Ottavino doesn't have the name value of many of those other guys, obviously, in part because he's never been a regular closer. Then again, name value isn't what sells in the market, either, especially when you realize that some of these pitchers are coming off extremely difficult seasons.

Greg Holland, for example, is best known as a Kansas City postseason hero. But he missed all of 2016 due to injury, had a great first half of '17 as Ottavino's teammate with Colorado, then struggled down the stretch, had a 7.92 ERA with St. Louis last season and was designated for assignment in July. (He surfaced with Washington and was somewhat better.) Holland's former teammate on those clubs, Kelvin Herrera, saw his strikeout rate drop from 30.4 percent in '16 to 20.8 percent this year, thanks in part to a right shoulder problem, even before season-ending foot surgery.

Miller missed time this year with injuries to his left hamstring, right knee and throwing shoulder, while posting his lowest strikeout rate since becoming a reliever in 2012. His running mate in Cleveland, Cody Allen, just put up a 4.70 ERA amidst a big home run problem. 

Britton missed much of 2017 with a forearm strain, then didn't start his '18 until June after an offseason Achilles tear. While he was his usual groundballing self with the Yankees, he also struck out only 19.8 percent of hitters, a far cry from his elite 31.2 percent mark in '15. Jeurys Familia, meanwhile, has missed time with arm injuries in each of the past two years, though his performance for the Mets and A's was still solid.

That's not to say that none of these guys had good years -- Justin Wilson and David Robertson each did -- or that Ottavino is immune from health issues himself. (He had Tommy John surgery in 2015 and missed a few weeks with an oblique strain suffered in May.) 

Video: SD@COL: Ottavino strikes out Pirela, side in the 9th

It's not that Ottavino was always this good, either, which is why his career stats don't mean all that much. Last offseason, he famously set up shop in a vacant storefront in Manhattan and set to work with high-tech cameras in an attempt to improve his pitches.

"Sometimes what your brain is telling you is happening is not really happening," Ottavino told FanGraphs earlier this year. "[The high-speed] cameras cut the timeline down immensely. [Without the cameras,] it's trial and error that could have taken years. But with the cameras, it was like four days and I was on the right track."

In 2016, Ottavino threw first-pitch strikes just 47 percent of the time; in '18, that number increased to 60 percent. When he threw pitches in the zone, his contact rate dropped from 88 percent to 80 percent, but at the same time, he got hitters to chase at more pitches outside the zone, increasing from 22 percent to 26 percent.

It was the better control, combined with the video game-like movement on Ottavino's slider, that made him such a different pitcher in 2018. He might not have the name value of Miller, Britton or Holland, or the save totals of Familia or Allen. He's not Craig Kimbrel, because few relievers ever have been. But most of that doesn't matter, not really. Ottavino is going to be a very in-demand reliever this offseason. When he gets a larger contract than longtime stars like Adam Jones or Andrew McCutchen, don't be surprised. Be impressed.

Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast.

Adam Ottavino

Davies replaces injured Gio on Brewers roster

Gonzalez ineligible for World Series if Crew advances
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

LOS ANGELES -- Zach Davies, welcome to the postseason.

Major League Baseball on Wednesday approved the Brewers' request to replace injured left-hander Gio Gonzalez with Davies prior to Game 5 of the National League Championship Series after Gonzalez suffered a left high ankle sprain in Game 4. By rule, Gonzalez is ineligible for the World Series should the Brewers advance.

View Full Game Coverage

LOS ANGELES -- Zach Davies, welcome to the postseason.

Major League Baseball on Wednesday approved the Brewers' request to replace injured left-hander Gio Gonzalez with Davies prior to Game 5 of the National League Championship Series after Gonzalez suffered a left high ankle sprain in Game 4. By rule, Gonzalez is ineligible for the World Series should the Brewers advance.

View Full Game Coverage

NLCS presented by Google Assistant, Game 5: Today, 5:05 p.m. ET/2:05 p.m. PT on FS1

Gonzalez's departure with no outs in the second inning forced the Brewers to cover the final 11-plus frames of a 13-inning, 2-1 loss to the Dodgers with the bullpen, putting Milwaukee in a somewhat perilous position entering Game 5 on Wednesday afternoon after a short turnaround, and with starter Wade Miley on short rest. It helps that one of the Brewers' multi-inning "out-getters," Brandon Woodruff, is fresh, but Davies could help provide additional length as Milwaukee attempts to take a 3-2 series lead before heading back to Miller Park for the conclusion.

Davies, 25, entered the season as arguably Milwaukee's No. 2 starter, held back to start the home opener against the Cardinals. But his year was ruined by injuries, first a right rotator cuff strain and then a back issue, which combined to limit him to a 4.77 ERA in 13 starts, including five in September.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Gonzalez injures his ankle, leaves game

The Brewers left both Davies and Opening Day starter Chase Anderson off the roster for the first two rounds of the postseason, though Davies vowed to stay sharp in the event of an injury. He was one of the Brewers' pitchers who threw to hitters in one of the team's workouts between rounds.

"You definitely want to be on the active roster for the playoffs, but there's a whole career ahead," Davies said prior to the NLCS. "Being bent out of shape about it is not going to help my career. The team is where it's at. We're all in the playoffs together."

Dr. Gary Green, MLB's medical director, confirmed Gonzalez's injury after communicating with the evaluating physician. MLB postseason rules provide that a club may request permission from the Commissioner's Office to replace a player who is unable to play because of an injury, and the league may approve or disapprove the request based on the specific facts and circumstances. 

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Zach Davies, Gio Gonzalez

Red Sox-Astros G4: Lineups, matchups, FAQs

MLB.com @brianmctaggart and @IanMBrowne

HOUSTON -- Now that the Red Sox have taken control of the American League Championship Series after beating the Astros in Game 3 on Tuesday night to take a 2-1 series lead, it will be up to Charlie Morton to keep Houston's back from being against the wall.

View Full Game Coverage

HOUSTON -- Now that the Red Sox have taken control of the American League Championship Series after beating the Astros in Game 3 on Tuesday night to take a 2-1 series lead, it will be up to Charlie Morton to keep Houston's back from being against the wall.

:: ALCS schedule and results ::

View Full Game Coverage

Morton will face former AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello in Game 4 tonight at Minute Maid Park. The Astros' loss at home in Game 3 was only their second in their past 12 playoff games at Minute Maid Park since the start of last season.

ALCS presented by Google Assistant, Game 4: Tonight, 8:39 p.m. ET on TBS

In the history of best-of-seven series with the 2-3-2 format, teams that win Game 3 on the road to grab a 2-1 advantage have eventually gone on to take the series 27 of 36 times (75 percent).

What might the starting lineups look like?
Red Sox: After being shut down by the Astros in Game 1, the Red Sox have started to resemble themselves again over the past two games, which means they are also very dangerous. Jackie Bradley Jr., who is notoriously streaky, is riding some confidence after huge hits in the last two games of the series, including a grand slam that broke open Game 3. Look for Brock Holt to be back in the lineup against a righty in Morton. Steve Pearce continues to contribute, so he could remain in the lineup even if Mitch Moreland is healthy enough to start again.

Gear up for the ALCS: Astros | Red Sox

Video: Bradley delivers clutch hits in Games 2 and 3 of ALCS

1. Mookie Betts, RF
2. Andrew Benintendi, LF
3. J.D. Martinez, DH
4. Xander Bogaerts, SS
5. Steve Pearce, 1B
6. Rafael Devers, 3B
7. Brock Holt, 2B
8. Christian Vazquez, C
9. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

Astros: Jose Altuve's ailing right knee forced manager AJ Hinch to start him at designated hitter in Game 3, and there's a good chance he could do that again. If he does, that likely means Tony Kemp gets another start in left field. Expect Martin Maldonado to be back behind the plate at catcher after Brian McCann started Game 3:

1. George Springer, CF
2. Jose Altuve, DH
3. Alex Bregman, 3B
4. Yuli Gurriel, 1B
5. Marwin Gonzalez, 2B
6. Josh Reddick, RF
7. Carlos Correa, SS
8. Martin Maldonado, C
9. Tony Kemp, LF

Who are the starting pitchers?
Red Sox: Porcello has come up big in this postseason (1-0, 1.35 ERA) as a starter and as a reliever. It is back to the rotation for Porcello, who had a big scoreless eighth inning in relief in Game 2. Porcello has pitched three times against the Astros this season, going 1-0 with a 4.15 ERA. He got the win while facing Morton back on June 3 at Minute Maid Park.

Video: ALCS Gm4: Porcello on emotions as starter, reliver

Astros: Morton will be making his first outing since throwing three innings in the Astros' regular-season finale Sept. 30 at Baltimore. He's thrown just 15 innings since coming off the disabled list Sept. 8. Houston put Morton on the DL to skip one start and rest a sore right shoulder.

Last year, Morton started against the Red Sox in Game 4 of the AL Division Series in Boston, and he allowed two runs in 4 1/3 innings in the Astros' series-clinching win. In two starts against the Red Sox this year, Morton is 1-1 with a 6.97 ERA, allowing 16 hits and eight runs in 10 1/3 innings.

Video: ALCS Gm4: Morton talks staying fresh for Game 4 start

How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Red Sox: From question mark to strength, Boston's bullpen is rolling in the ALCS. The relief corps fired three scoreless innings in Game 3. The Red Sox would love to get closer Craig Kimbrel on track. Though the righty is 3-for-3 in save opportunities this postseason, he has yet to have a scoreless outing. Lefty David Price could be used in the bullpen if necessary. Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier continue to be the setup men manager Alex Cora trusts the most.

Astros: It should be all hands on deck for Houston, even though the club used six of its eight relief pitchers in Game 3. Closer Roberto Osuna threw the most pitches (27) among the relievers used Tuesday, but if the Astros have the lead in the ninth inning, you can bet he will get the ball. Ryan Pressly threw only 13 pitches and will definitely be available.

Are there any relievers who are unavailable?
Red Sox: None.

Astros: None.

Any injuries of note?
Red Sox: Third baseman Eduardo Nunez tweaked his right ankle in Game 3 and came out in the fourth inning as a precaution. Moreland continues to make progress with the right hamstring injury he sustained in Game 2 of the AL Division Series. The left-handed hitter has reached base in all three of his pinch-hitting appearances in this series, and he has come out for a pinch-runner each time.

Astros: Altuve is still battling a sore right knee, though it didn't prevent him from getting two hits and scoring a pair of runs in Game 3, including scoring from first base on a Bregman double and later beating out a bunt hit.

Video: ALCS Gm3: Altuve hits Eovaldi's 100.8-mph fastball

Who is hot and who is not?
Red Sox: Pearce has recorded at least one hit and scored at least one run in each game he has played in this postseason … Bradley has seven RBIs in the past two games … Ian Kinsler is hitless in the two games he's started in the series … The same goes for Vazquez. In fact, Boston doesn't have a hit from any of its catchers in this series.

Video: MLB Tonight on Pearce's big ALCS Game 3

Astros: Bregman (2-for-6, seven walks, .714 on-base percentage) and Springer (4-for-13) are the only Houston players hitting better than .300 in the ALCS. Meanwhile, Gonzalez (2-for-12), Gurriel (2-for-12) and Reddick (1-for-11) have been struggling at the plate.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros

Rumors: Oh, Kershaw, Marlins, Eovaldi, Keuchel

The latest MLB free agent and trade rumors for Hot Stove season
MLB.com

As the postseason concludes, Hot Stove season begins. MLB.com is keeping track of all the latest free agent and trade rumors right here.

Morton set for showcase start in ALCS Game 4
Oct. 17: Trailing the Red Sox, two games to one, in the ALCS, the Astros will turn to right-hander Charlie Morton to start Game 4 on Wednesday. Morton is set to become a free agent after this season, and this could be the final chance for potential suitors to get a look at him.

As the postseason concludes, Hot Stove season begins. MLB.com is keeping track of all the latest free agent and trade rumors right here.

Morton set for showcase start in ALCS Game 4
Oct. 17: Trailing the Red Sox, two games to one, in the ALCS, the Astros will turn to right-hander Charlie Morton to start Game 4 on Wednesday. Morton is set to become a free agent after this season, and this could be the final chance for potential suitors to get a look at him.

• Complete list of free agents this offseason 

The right-hander will likely be one of the most coveted free-agent starters regardless of Wednesday's results, as he has gone 29-10 with a 3.36 ERA and a 10.4 K/9 rate in 55 regular-season starts over two years with Houston. He was also outstanding in the World Series last year, allowing two runs in 10 1/3 innings and getting the final 12 outs of Game 7.

Granted, there's a chance that Morton, who has pondered retirement, will never enter free agency, as he might be willing to accept the $17.9 million qualifying offer to stay in Houston for one more year before calling it a career.

Storen hoping to make comeback after missing 2018
Oct. 17: More than a year removed from undergoing Tommy John surgery, reliever Drew Storen is hoping to make a comeback in 2019, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported via Twitter on Wednesday.

The right-hander underwent the procedure Sept. 26, 2017, and missed the entire '18 campaign while recovering. Per Heyman, the 31-year-old free agent is throwing his full arsenal of pitches and is ready to showcase himself to Major League clubs.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Drew Storen sat last year out after Tommy John surgery but he���s throwing his full arsenal of pitches now & is ready to showcase for teams. Storen, still only 30, appears ready to go as the video suggests: pic.twitter.com/qXuj4PcUX3

Storen posted a 4.45 ERA over 54 2/3 innings with the Reds in '17, but he owns a lifetime 3.45 ERA with 99 saves in eight big league seasons.

Oh wants to return to KBO
Oct. 17: Seunghwan Oh wants to return to the Korea Baseball Organization after three seasons in MLB, the Rockies reliever told Korean news outlets Wednesday.

Oh has a guaranteed $2.5 million salary with the Rockies for next season, as the vesting option in his contract kicked in after he made 70 appearances this year. But the 36-year-old's preference appears to be to go back to the league where he pitched his first nine professional seasons. Oh first left the KBO for Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball in 2014, then jumped to the Major Leagues in 2016.

"I am a bit exhausted after spending five seasons in Japan and the United States," Oh said. "I feel like I want to return to the KBO while I still have the energy to help the team and pitch in front of home fans. I can't make this decision alone. I'll have to speak with my agency about the next season."

Oh also said, "It's not easy living in a foreign country. You have to face the opposing hitters on the mound, and there are a lot of other things you have to battle off the field. Everything away from the stadium is an extension of competition."

If Oh does, in fact, leave the Majors, the Rockies would have to replace a key bullpen spot for 2019. After the Rockies acquired him in July, Oh became an important member of what was at times a shaky relief corps in Colorado, posting a 2.53 ERA in 25 appearances down the stretch with 24 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings. Oh pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings in the Rockies' NL Wild Card Game win over the Cubs, keeping the game tied in the 10th and 11th innings. He allowed two runs in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Brewers, but pitched a scoreless inning in Game 3.

Adam Ottavino, probably the team's best reliever this season, is also set to become a free agent. Without Oh, addressing the bullpen this winter, which would already have been a priority for the Rockies, would become even more critical.

Blue Jays could have significant roster turnover this offseason
Oct. 17: The Blue Jays began their rebuild during the 2018 season by shipping out a number of veterans, including Josh Donaldson, J.A. Happ, Roberto Osuna and Curtis Granderson, and that process could continue this offseason.

On Wednesday, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca detailed an extensive offseason plan for Toronto that involves the club trading catcher Russell Martin and designated hitter Kendrys Morales while eating a large portion of both players' salaries.

Nicholson-Smith also suggests that the Jays trade infielder Aledmys Diaz for right-hander Sonny Gray, whom the Yankees are known to be shopping. With Didi Gregorius set to undergo Tommy John surgery, Diaz would give New York insurance at shortstop in case they don't sign Manny Machado.

As part of Nicholson-Smith's plan, the Jays would come away with free-agent starter Trevor Cahill and deal for Marlins reliever Adam Conley as well, while picking up first baseman Justin Smoak's $8 million club option and declining infielder Yangervis Solarte's $5.5 million club option.

Per Nicholson-Smith, if this plan is executed, the Jays will open up more playing time for youngsters while also putting themselves in position to have some attractive targets to move before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Kershaw still undecided on opt out clause
Oct. 16: Clayton Kershaw is expected to opt out of his contract with the Dodgers after this season and test the free-agent market, according to a recent report from MLB Network insider Jon Heyman. And the left-hander was asked whether he had made a decision on the matter within the context that he could be making his final career start with the Dodgers in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series today, should the Dodgers fail to advance. 

"I have not made a decision," Kershaw said. "And to my understanding you get 10 days after the World Series. So should be a busy 10 days."

Kershaw, 30, was referencing the 10-day period after the World Series in which he will be mandated to make a decision of whether to opt out of the two years and just over $70 million remaining on a seven-year, $215 million contract he signed with the Dodgers prior to the 2014 season.

When asked if he had been processing things differently this postseason given his well-accoladed history with Los Angeles, and the potential that this could be his last with the Dodgers, Kershaw said: "Trying not to. I think it's hard enough to try and win a postseason game. I know more than anybody knows that. So, I think for me it's just trying to focus as much as I possibly can on the Brewers and getting ready for tomorrow's start. And putting everything else on the back burner as best I possibly can."

Video: NLCS Gm 5: Roberts on expectations for Kershaw

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts echoed Kershaw's sentiment and focus when he was asked about Kershaw's uncertain future with the club. 

"You bring it up to my attention and I'm sure -- I guess it's a reality," Roberts said. "But I think that for me it's just thinking about tonight and tomorrow with Clayton pitching for us. And so I don't get too far ahead of that, no."

Kershaw, the '14 NL MVP Award winner and three-time NL Cy Young Award winner, has dealt with lingering back issues the past three seasons and was limited to just 26 starts this year, so it is far from certain that the left-hander would be able to find a suitor for another longterm deal. However, he'd likely be able to sign for more than the two years he has left on his current pact with the Dodgers. More >

Eovaldi, Keuchel turn in strong performances in ALCS Game 3
Oct. 16: With not only a national audience of fans watching, but also potential suitors in free agency, Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi and Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel each turned in formidable performances during Boston's 8-2 win in ALCS Game 3 on Tuesday. 

Ahead of ALCS Game 3, MLB.com's Mike Petriello broke down how both Eovaldi and Keuchel could be among the most coveted free agent starting pitchers this offseason.

Video: ALCS Gm3: Eovaldi K's 4, allows 2 ER over 6

Eovaldi, who Boston acquired from Tampa Bay ahead of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline explicitly to make starts such as Tuesday's, allowed two runs on six hits and two walks over six strong innings while averaging a whopping 98.8 mph on his four-seam fastball and topping out at 101 mph. Eovaldi's blemishes came in the fifth inning, when he walked Jose Altuve in a full count with two outs and then surrendered a game-tying double to the red-hot Alex Bregman. Eovaldi eventually got out of the fifth with no more damage and returned to toss a scoreless sixth. 

Eovaldi's stock appears to be on the rise after undergoing multiple surgeries to repair his pitching arm, including two Tommy John operations. After missing all of the 2017 season and the first two months of '18 while recovering from the latest tear in his right elbow, Eovaldi bounced back to go 6-7 with a 3.81 ERA over 12 regular season outings -- and he's been even better in his first career postseason. In addition to Tuesday, Eovaldi tossed seven scoreless innings in the Red Sox's 16-1 win over the Yankees of Game 3 of the AL Division Series last Tuesday,. 

Keuchel on Tuesday gave up three of the four hits he surrendered and two runs in the first inning -- a one-run double to J.D. Martinez and an RBI groundout to Xander Bogaerts -- then threw four scoreless frames to finish his outing. He also issued two walks, and left with a 2-1 deficit, as the Astros' loss fell on the shoulders of their bullpen. 

Video: ALCS Gm3: Keuchel on his start, Astros' Game 3 loss

Keuchel, the 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner, may have seen his stock drop some in 2018 after two All-Star appearances over the three seasons prior, but the left-hander is nonetheless considered one of the better starting arms that will be available in free agency. After being limited in consecutive seasons due to injuries (left shoulder pain in '16 and neck discomfort in '17), Keuchel eclipsed the 200-inning plateau for the third time in '18, going 12-11 with a 3.74 ERA. 

Marlins add more international bonus pool money with eye on three Cuban prospects
Oct. 16: The Marlins created more financial flexibility on Tuesday to make an aggressive run at the three coveted Cuban prospects they've been pursuing this offseason, trading Minor Leaguers Adonis Giron and Brayan De Paula to the Astros for $500,000 in international bonus pool money, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. 

The latest of their three trades this offseason is believed to have pushed Miami's international bonus pool ahead of the Orioles' $6.7 million for the MLB high. That would put them in a more favorable position to sign Cuban prospects Victor Victor Mesa, his brother, Victor Mesa Jr., and Sandy Gaston, who were each granted free agency by MLB a few weeeks ago, making them eligible to sign at any time.

Video: Hill discusses hosting Mesa, Gaston at showcase

Tuesday's trade was the Marlins' third this offseason that was largely geared at adding international talent. On Oct. 10, they traded right-hander Kyle Barraclough to the Nationals for $1 million and on Oct. 6, they traded right-handed pitching prospect Ryan Lillie to the Reds for $750,000. 

Before the two deals, the Marlins had $4.3 million in their international allotment, behind only the Orioles. How much that gap has narrowed isn't yet known.

Victor Victor Mesa, 22, and Victor Jr., 18, are both outfielders. Gaston is a 16-year-old right-hander. Victor Victor Mesa is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the top international prospect on the market, and Gaston is ranked 16th. More >

Kluber, Paxton, MadBum among SP trade candidates who could shake up offseason
Oct. 16: Last offseason, clubs had limited options when it came to free-agent starting pitchers, but the market was bolstered by the availability of Gerrit Cole, who was traded to the Astros and ended up being one of the best additions any team made over the past year.

In a story for the New York Post on Tuesday, MLB Network insider Joel Sherman shared a handful of names who could do the same for the market if they are made available this offseason, with the Indians' Corey Kluber, the Mariners' James Paxton and the Giants' Madison Bumgarner among them.

Based on contract escalators tied to his finishes in Cy Young Award voting, Kluber is expected to be owed $17 million for next season, with club options for 2020 and '21 that could be worth up to $17.5 million and $18 million, respectively.

Sherman argues the Indians would still be prohibitive favorites in a weak AL Central even if they traded Kluber, who will turn 33 years old in April and has struggled in each of the past two postseasons, as the club could use that money to address other needs on the roster.

As for Paxton, Sherman notes that the Mariners have few ways to significantly improve their situation, given their old, expensive core and poor farm system. Trading the big left-hander, who can become a free agent after the 2020 campaign and has never thrown more than 160 1/3 innings in a season, could be a way to address some of their needs.

Bumgarner, meanwhile, has a $12 million club option for 2019 and should draw significant trade interest despite showing signs of decline in '18. Per Sherman, it could make sense for the Giants to deal the left-hander now, as they are unlikely to be serious contenders in '19 and would be taking a major risk by signing him to an extension.

Also part of Sherman's list were the D-backs' Robbie Ray and the Cardinals' Carlos Martinez, who both dealt with injuries in '18 but have displayed ace potential in the past. Ray can become a free agent after 2020, while Martinez is controllable for five more seasons if his club options are picked up for '22 ($17 million) and '23 ($18 million).

Machado, Grandal on opposite tracks in postseason
Oct. 16: One run of postseason games might not outweigh the full body of work of the regular season, but it leaves an impression. And two of the Dodgers' key free-agents-to-be, Manny Machado and Yasmani Grandal, have been trending in opposite directions this October.

Machado, one of the two marquee names hitting the market this winter along with Bryce Harper, has been heating up. After a slow-ish start to the playoffs -- which still included the decisive two-run homer in the Dodgers' Game 2 NLDS win over the Braves -- the superstar shortstop has three multi-hit efforts and a pair of home runs in his last four games. In the NLCS, Machado is 5-for-11 with a homer and a double (although there have been questions about his hustle after he didn't run hard on a groundout in Game 2).

Grandal, on the other hand, has struggled offensively and behind the plate. He's hitting just .136 this postseason (3-for-22) with one homer. But Grandal's defense has been the most visible issue. He's had two nightmarish games in the NLCS, both of which have resulted in the Dodgers replacing him with Austin Barnes for the following game.

In Game 1, a one-run loss, Grandal had two errors and two passed balls -- becoming the first catcher in postseason history with multiple errors and multiple passed balls in the same game. Barnes then started Game 2. Grandal returned for Game 3, but had another tough night in another Dodgers loss. He couldn't block a wild pitch in the sixth inning, which brought home a run for the Brewers, and he had a passed ball in the eighth. After that, Barnes will start Tuesday's Game 4.

That's now two straight postseasons Grandal has lost playing time to Barnes. Last year, Barnes started 13 of the Dodgers' 15 playoff games at catcher, including all seven World Series games, compared to just two starts for Grandal.

Even after Grandal's impressive 2018 regular season -- he hit the second-most home runs among catchers (24) and the third-highest wRC+ (125, meaning he was 25 percent better than a league-average hitter) -- that's not what potential suitors want to see in October out of a free-agent target, especially one who could be an important signing at a critical position.

Braves enter winter with flexibility to address needs
Oct. 15: The Braves could be major players in free agency. The club will have considerable financial flexibility with at least $60 million to spend this winter, reported MLB.com's Mark Bowman. 

Atlanta enters the offseason with needs at catcher and in the outfield, bullpen and starting rotation. The Braves could go a number of directions once free agency opens, but they'll likely make another run at Marlins All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto and explore the trade market before any aggressive signings, per Bowman. They could also pursue D-backs pitcher Patrick Corbin, one of the top arms on the market.

Tweet from @mlbbowman: Today���s session with Anthopoulos confirmed the Braves will have plenty financial flexibility. Specifics weren���t revealed, but it appears they���ll have at least $60M to fill multiple needs: Catcher, OF, Bullpen depth, a SP, but only if Corbin or another frontline option makes sense

After being eliminated by the Dodgers in the National League Division Series, the Braves' first move of the offseason was signing manager Brian Snitker to a two-year contract Monday that includes an option for the 2021 season.

Giants could pursue Harper, but competition expected to be fierce
Oct. 15: Although Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, the two biggest names set to hit free agency this offseason, play different positions, the markets for both players will surely dovetail in some way.

For instance, the Giants are expected to be one of the suitors for Harper, and their pursuit could be indirectly affected by the Yankees, as John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle pointed out Saturday.

With the news that shortstop Didi Gregorius is scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery, many now speculate that the Yankees will make a greater push for Machado.

If that happens, and New York comes away with Machado, it could in turn make the Dodgers -- Machado's current team -- more likely to make a serious push for Harper. That could be bad news for the Giants, as Los Angeles will likely be able to outbid San Francisco for Harper and is arguably a more attractive landing spot for the superstar outfielder.

Could Goldschmidt be a fit for Yankees?
Oct. 15: Facing a critical juncture this offseason after missing the playoffs in 2018, the D-backs are reportedly expected to listen to offers for a number of their top players, including Paul Goldschmidt.

The problem for Arizona, as ESPN's Buster Olney noted via Twitter, is that there aren't a lot of obvious fits for Goldschmidt, as many contenders are set at first base. However, Olney speculates that the Yankees could enter the mix for the six-time All-Star, who can become a free agent after the 2019 season.

Tweet from @Buster_ESPN: As has been reported, the D-Backs will listen to offers on their best players, including Paul Goldschmidt. Most contenders are locked in at 1B for 2019; the Cubs have Rizzo, for example. Total speculation: One team that could be a great fit for a Goldschmidt deal -- the Yankees.

Tweet from @Buster_ESPN: This is all speculation... To add: for Goldschmidt, hitting in Yankee Stadium as he went through his free-agent season, in the middle of a deep lineup, could be a great development for him, as well.

New York's current options at first base include in-season acquisition Luke Voit and Greg Bird, who hasn't been able to stay healthy or consistently produce during his big league tenure. The Yankees will need to decide if either player is a long-term answer.

Voit seemingly has the inside edge to earn a starting job in 2019, as he hit .322 with 15 homers in only 47 games with the club and became an everyday lineup fixture down the stretch. But Voit will be 28 on Opening Day, and he'll need to show that his 2018 performance was not a fluke.

Meanwhile, Goldschmidt remains one of the best hitters in baseball, recording a .290 average with 33 homers and a .922 OPS in 2018, and he could help the Yankees close the gap with the Red Sox and Astros in the AL.

Rockies facing big questions this offseason
Oct. 15: Before the Rockies make a bid for their third straight postseason appearance in 2019, they will need to answer a number of pressing questions about their roster this offseason, which Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post broke down Sunday.

Among those questions is what to do about impending free agents DJ LeMahieu, Carlos Gonzalez and Adam Ottavino. Saunders considers it unlikely that the Rockies will re-sign LeMahieu and Ottavino, and he speculates that the club could look to move on from Gonzalez as well, even though the outfielder has expressed interest in returning.

While that would give Colorado three big holes to address, it doesn't necessarily mean the club will look to the free-agent market for replacements, especially considering the mixed results the Rockies have gotten from recent signings such as Ian Desmond, Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw and Jake McGee, a quartet that will take up a sizable portion of the payroll in 2019. The Rockies may also look to work on a contract extension with Nolan Arenado, who can become a free agent after next season.

As a result, greater importance will likely be placed on low-cost youngsters such as David Dahl, Ryan McMahon, Garrett Hampson, Brendan Rodgers and Raimel Tapia in 2019.

Bellinger delivers walk-off in 13th to tie NLCS

MLB.com @kengurnick

LOS ANGELES -- Who knew Cody Bellinger would turn into Justin Turner late Tuesday night?

NLCS presented by Google Assistant, Game 5: Today, 5:05 p.m. ET/2:05 PT on FS1

View Full Game Coverage

LOS ANGELES -- Who knew Cody Bellinger would turn into Justin Turner late Tuesday night?

NLCS presented by Google Assistant, Game 5: Today, 5:05 p.m. ET/2:05 PT on FS1

View Full Game Coverage

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

Three innings after his spectacular outfield catch saved Game 4 for the Dodgers, Bellinger won it with the clutch hit of a lifetime. His two-out RBI single in the bottom of the 13th inning scored a hustling Manny Machado from second base as the Dodgers outlasted the Brewers, 2-1, in a thrilling and bullpen-exhausting walk-off to even the National League Championship Series at two games each.

"I think it's seeing our guys persevere through that game," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, explaining why he joined the Bellinger party mob scene in left field. "But I just -- understanding and seeing what Cody has been going through and really just wearing it and the weight of the world on him."

Bellinger had turned into a strikeout machine in the World Series last year and was lugging around an .048 average in this postseason. Few Dodgers needed a big hit more.

A series momentum changer?

"Definitely," said Bellinger. "We've got [Clayton] Kershaw on the mound tomorrow, we like our chances."

The Dodgers are 4-8 in a best-of-seven series when tied 2-2, while the Brewers are 0-2. Teams in the position of the Dodgers in a best-of-seven series with the 2-3-2 format -- tied 2-2, home for Game 5, on the road for Games 6 and 7 -- have gone on to win the series 23 of 54 times (43 percent).

The win had added strategic importance for the Dodgers, because the Brewers used wipeout reliever Josh Hader in a loss. It was his second consecutive appearance and his fastball was two miles an hour slower than Monday night, leaving his availability to pitch in Game 5 uncertain.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Hader strands 2 with a K after 2 replays

"You lose that game, extra innings, at home, go down 3-1, it's not a very good feeling with the quick turnaround tomorrow," said Turner, the Dodgers' Mr. October, who turned in a handful of defensive gems at third base. "It's something we had to get done. Belly, what an incredible at-bat he had, laying off tough pitches and finding a hole."

Video: NLCS Gm4: Machado, Aguilar argue, later makeup

After causing a furor with his explanation for not hustling earlier in the series -- and nearly mixing it up with Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar on a play at first base in the 10th inning -- Machado was 0-for-5 with one out in the 13th when he reached first base on a broken-bat single to left off Junior Guerra, who was in his fourth inning of relief.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Dodgers, Crew on Machado-Aguilar incident

With two outs, Machado was heads-up on the first breaking ball to Bellinger in the dirt and aggressively advanced to second on what turned out to be a pivotal wild pitch blocked by catcher Erik Kratz. Trying to extend his lead off second base with Bellinger up, Machado was nearly picked off. Bellinger worked the count to 3-2 and rifled a slider past a diving Aguilar at first and into right field. Machado raced home and slid his hand under the tag after a strong throw from Christian Yelich.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Machado dives back in to second in the 13th

The Dodgers mobbed Bellinger, chasing him into left field. Only two players have had a walk-off hit in the postseason at a younger age than Bellinger's 23 years and 95 days: Edgar Renteria with the 1997 Marlins (twice) and Carlos Correa with the 2017 Astros.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Roberts, Bellinger, Machado on Game 4 win

"It's probably a feeling you won't forget, seeing your guys chase after you," said Bellinger. "Honestly, I was surprised that they were throwing to me, I thought they would pitch around me and get me to swing. Once I saw they were attacking me, it was just kind of grind mode and do what you can to put the ball in play and try to end the game.

"I've been seeing [back-foot sliders] so much now that if you keep seeing it you're going to get used to it. And I'm a different hitter than I was last year. I've learned a lot."

Video: NLCS Gm4: Bellinger on walk-off, Roberts greeting him

With Yasmani Grandal and the pitcher's spot following Bellinger, Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said intentionally walking Bellinger wasn't a strong consideration.

"I thought it was worth the risk of trying to expand to Bellinger, and if the at-bat goes to Grandal, we walk Grandal," he said.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Counsell on pitching to Bellinger in 13th

For most of the 13 innings, both offenses went nowhere, with the Dodgers striking out 17 times (a franchise postseason record) and going 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position until Bellinger's hit. The Brewers went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Peralta strikes out 6 over 3 no-hit innings

Despite the missed scoring opportunities, the Dodgers got big-time efforts from all over the place, among them: Starting pitcher Rich Hill allowed one run in five innings; Brian Dozier delivered a clutch RBI single in the first inning, Bellinger's ridiculous layout dive-and-slide catch in right field, where he never started this year; postseason veteran reliever Ryan Madson put down another brushfire; and closer Kenley Jansen pitched two scoreless innings, his longest appearance since last year's World Series.

Rich Hill destroys candy in Dodgers dugout

Video: NLCS Gm4: Jansen strikes out 2, allows just 1 hit

Jansen was one of eight Dodgers relievers who combined to throw eight scoreless innings as Roberts emptied his bullpen. Julio Urias, the 22-year-old coming off shoulder surgery who was added to the roster for this series, pitched around a one-out single by Ryan Braun in the 13th inning and was credited with the victory.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Urias freezes Moustakas in the 13th

Roberts said scheduled Game 6 starter Hyun-Jin Ryu was headed to the bullpen when the game ended.

"So, I guess the poker reference -- we were all in," he said.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Roberts on Bellinger's walk-off hit in 13th

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Plenty to choose from, but not to be overlooked was the one out Madson got, inheriting a runner on third base and two outs in the seventh inning and retiring Lorenzo Cain on a groundout on one pitch. Madson was virtually a non-factor after the Dodgers acquired him Aug. 31, but he's allowed one hit in 3 1/3 scoreless innings in the postseason while stranding six of nine inherited runners.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Madson retires Cain, preserves tie in 7th

SOUND SMART
At 13 innings it was the longest NLCS game by innings since the Dodgers and Cardinals went 13 innings in 2013. At five hours and 15 minutes, it was the second-longest NLCS game by time, surpassed only by Game 5 in 1999 between the Mets and Braves at 5:46.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Dodgers on emotional Game 4 win in extras

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Bellinger's diving catch in the 10th was spectacular and critical. He had a 17 percent catch probability on the play, according to Statcast™, and he almost certainly saved extra bases by catching it. Two batters later, Ryan Braun singled, a ball that might well have scored Cain and potentially delivered a Brewers win.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Bellinger dives, makes low-probability grab

HE SAID IT
"I knew I had a shot at it. I played right field in the Minor Leagues a lot before I started playing center field. I haven't been there much lately. But it's kind of like riding a bike. I saw it hanging up there and ran as fast as I could and dove for it." -- Bellinger, on his catch

Video: NLCS Gm4: Bellinger discusses his superb grab in 10th

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Brewers used both of their challenges during a single Brian Dozier at-bat in the decisive eighth inning, first asking the umpires to look for fan interference on a foul ball down the right-field line, where Yelich attempted a sliding catch. The original non-call stood.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Dozier smacks a foul ball, call stands

Then, after Dozier grounded into a fielder's choice and narrowly got to first base to avoid an inning-ending double play, the Brewers challenged again. A challenge covers the totality of the play, so replay officials examined whether Muncy had violated the slide rule at second base, and whether Dozier reached first in time. In both cases, the original calls were confirmed.

Video: NLCS Gm4: No interference, safe call confirmed in 8th

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Cody Bellinger, Rich Hill

Mozeliak: Ankiel 'very much committed' to return

MLB.com @LangoschMLB

ST. LOUIS -- While the Cardinals practice a policy of not commenting about potential interest in free agents, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak made an exception Tuesday. It had to do with Rick Ankiel.

Back in August, after pitching against other former big leaguers in an exhibition game, Ankiel announced that he planned to pursue one final comeback attempt at the age of 39. It was an unexpected pronouncement from the converted outfielder, who hadn't pitched in the Majors since 2004. He retired in 2013 and currently serves on the Cardinals' broadcast team.

ST. LOUIS -- While the Cardinals practice a policy of not commenting about potential interest in free agents, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak made an exception Tuesday. It had to do with Rick Ankiel.

Back in August, after pitching against other former big leaguers in an exhibition game, Ankiel announced that he planned to pursue one final comeback attempt at the age of 39. It was an unexpected pronouncement from the converted outfielder, who hadn't pitched in the Majors since 2004. He retired in 2013 and currently serves on the Cardinals' broadcast team.

Mozeliak confirmed that he "had a nice discussion" with Ankiel a few weeks ago about the left-hander's future plans. The two plan to touch base again this winter.

"I understand his sincerity and seriousness of this," Mozeliak said. "It is something that he's going to put 100 percent effort in, and I think he's very much committed to trying."

Ankiel famously developed the yips during the postseason in 2000, the same year he finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting. He made six appearances the following season and five more in '04 before becoming a position player. Ankiel went on to play seven more seasons in the Majors and remained with the Cardinals through 2009.

Reyes recovery update

Alex Reyes will soon transfer his rehab work from St. Louis to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where the Cardinals hope a change of scenery can keep the top prospect energized as he works his way back from shoulder surgery.

"He's been so intimately engaged with the Cardinals medical staff that I think we need to give him a break," Mozeliak said. "It's maybe not something that all of you see in a day-in, day-out basis, but I think he's sick of looking at the nurse. You know what I mean? So it's time for a change."

By moving his workouts to south Florida, Reyes will remain close to the Cardinals' complex in Jupiter.

Mozeliak said the organization expects Reyes to begin a throwing program in about six or seven weeks. The Cardinals plan to take a "very patient approach" with Reyes in Spring Training, but anticipate that he'll be healthy for the start of the regular season. He'll prepare as a starting pitcher, even though Reyes has thrown only 73 pitches in the Majors since 2016.

Video: STL@MIL: Reyes makes MLB return, throws 4 scoreless

Reyes missed the 2017 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery and then suffered a shoulder injury that sidelined him following his season debut in May.

"Right now, I would say the organization is pretty excited about where he's at and also pretty optimistic about where he's at," Mozeliak added.

Worth noting

• Mozeliak confirmed that no one on the club's 40-man roster underwent any sort of surgical procedure following the conclusion of the regular season. Nor, he added, are any upcoming surgeries expected.

• Left fielder Marcell Ozuna is scheduled for a follow-up visit with orthopedist Dr. Neal ElAttrache later this month. It was during a meeting with ElAttrache in August that Ozuna decided to receive a cortisone injection in his ailing right shoulder. As it is, the Cardinals believe Ozuna can address the shoulder injury through physical therapy this winter.

• Though the Cardinals were among those present at Trevor Rosenthal's recent workout in California, Mozeliak would not speculate about a potential reunion with the club's former c