LOS ANGELES -- After tying up the National League Championship Series with a dramatic Game 2 comeback win in Milwaukee, the Dodgers look to take control with the next three games at Dodger Stadium, where they went 45-37 during the regular season and won both NL Division Series games against
LOS ANGELES -- After tying up the National League Championship Series with a dramatic Game 2 comeback win in Milwaukee, the Dodgers look to take control with the next three games at Dodger Stadium, where they went 45-37 during the regular season and won both NL Division Series games against Atlanta. Rookie right-hander Walker Buehler will start against Jhoulys Chacin.
Here are three keys if they hope to head back to Milwaukee with a series lead, or better yet, end the series without having to go back to Miller Park.
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1. More Justin Turner magic
Turner was once a non-roster invitee. Now he ranks with Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth in postseason on-base percentage. Or they rank with him. Bobblehead designers are probably already at work duplicating his freeze-frame with bat in hand high in the air as his game-winning homer flew out of Miller Park on Saturday.
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To look at the Dodgers' lineup is to see a deep, dangerous group, and it might appear that Turner is but one cog in a ferocious machine. But to regularly watch the team reveals that he's more than that. He's the most essential member of the lineup, one of the few players who starts every single day against right- or left-handed pitchers. He's a power hitter who draws walks and rarely strikes out, making him one of the game's toughest hitters to neutralize. As he goes, they go.
2. Starters must keep it close
Even with the offensive weapons of this platoon lineup, the Dodgers need to exploit an apparent advantage in starting pitching, which they didn't do in either of their postseason losses. Next up is Buehler, who allowed the Brewers only one run over seven innings in his only start against them this season, at Dodger Stadium.
He stumbled in a five-run inning in his postseason debut, but pitched a strong game in Game 163, an indication that he doesn't shrink in big moments. Pitching at home should help as well. The right-hander has pure stuff to rival nearly anyone in baseball; he simply has to execute.
3. Kenley Jansen needs to be Kenley Jansen
So far, so good, for the closer who is highly motivated to finish an uneven season with the ultimate prize. Jansen's one-out walk of Hernan Perez and Perez's two-out steal of second base in Game 2 might have gotten the heart beating, but it was a good sign to see Jansen jam Christian Yelich for the final out.
Jansen has four strikeouts, one walk and one hit allowed in three shutout innings so far this postseason. That's a very small sample size, but it's also very encouraging for the right-hander, who spent much of the season searching for consistent form.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.