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Lineup breakdown: Dodgers-Cardinals, Game 5

Kozma gets nod at short over Descalso for St. Louis; Puig remains in six-hole for LA

LOS ANGELES -- A look at Wednesday's starting lineups for Game 5 of the National League Championship Series between the Cardinals and the Dodgers:


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Battling tightness in his right calf, David Freese remains in the Cardinals' lineup. In fact, St. Louis' only change is at shortstop, where Pete Kozma takes over for Daniel Descalso in the No. 8 spot.

Descalso is clearly the better offensive option -- as he demonstrated Tuesday by igniting the Cardinals' three-run third-inning rally. But manager Mike Matheny has repeatedly deemed Kozma's glove as too valuable to live without. That mindset has paid dividends for the Cardinals, who benefited from a pair of very nifty plays from Kozma -- a defensive replacement -- in the latter stages of Game 4.

Matt Adams remains in the cleanup spot, despite his .067 average in the NLCS. He is bookended by Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina, who have each mashed against Dodgers starter Zack Greinke. Holliday is 9-for-29 with two homers against the right-hander, and Molina is 9-for-25.

1. Matt Carpenter, 2B
2. Carlos Beltran, RF
3. Holliday, LF
4. Adams, 1B
5. Molina, C
6. Jon Jay, CF
7. Freese, 3B
8. Kozma, SS
9. Joe Kelly, RHP


If the Dodgers lose Wednesday, Hanley Ramirez (hairline rib fracture) and Andre Ethier (microfracture in left leg) will have the entire offseason to heal. They are both in the lineup for Game 5.

In fact, the Dodgers made no changes -- other than in the pitcher's spot -- from Tuesday's starting nine. The suddenly hot Yasiel Puig, who is 4-for-6 in his last two games after starting the series 0-for-10, remains in the No. 6 spot.

Among hitters in the Dodgers' lineup, Adrian Gonzalez has had the most success against Cardinals starter Joe Kelly, going 5-for-9 with a double and a homer in his career. Leadoff man Carl Crawford has three hits -- two of them doubles -- in six at-bats.

1. Crawford, LF
2. Mark Ellis, 2B
3. Ramirez, SS
4. Gonzalez, 1B
5. Ethier, CF
6. Puig, RF
7. Juan Uribe, 3B
8. A.J. Ellis, C
9. Greinke, RHP

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

Pete Kozma, Yasiel Puig