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Freese gets rare start at leadoff; Puig in RF

October 19, 2018

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers rolled out another interesting lineup in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series on Friday night at Miller Park.• NLCS presented by Google Assistant, Game 7: Tonight, 8:09 p.m. ET/5:09 PT on FS1David Freese hit leadoff for just the fourth time in his 10-year

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers rolled out another interesting lineup in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series on Friday night at Miller Park.
NLCS presented by Google Assistant, Game 7: Tonight, 8:09 p.m. ET/5:09 PT on FS1
David Freese hit leadoff for just the fourth time in his 10-year career and for the first time since 2016. The move paid off when Freese homered in the first inning off Brewers starter Wade Miley.
:: NLCS schedule and results ::
"It's more of still loving David's at-bat quality and liking him against Miley and just being able to see him a couple of times, depending on how the game goes," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said before the game. "And I think that we've got some balance in there. David's fine with hitting leadoff and understanding nothing with his approach changes.
"It's a game that you just don't know how it's going to unfold. And so with the way that we structured the lineup and the guys we have on the bench, just kind of gives us a little bit of flexibility on how we want to use the guys on the bench."
Roberts started Player Page for Max Muncy over Enrique Hernandez and James Dozier at second base. Hernandez often starts against lefties, but he is 0-for-10 with five strikeouts in the NLCS and 2-for-22 with seven strikeouts in the postseason. Dozier's at-bats have improved in the last two weeks, according to Roberts, but he still likes Dozier coming off the bench.
Roberts also started Yasiel Puig over Matt Kemp in right field. Puig has a .628 OPS against lefties in the regular season. Kemp typically starts against lefties.
Roberts explained that he started Muncy and Puig because he does not expect Miley to pitch deep into the game, especially with Josh Hader, Corey Knebel and Jeremy Jeffress well rested. Miley also is a different pitcher than he has been in the past because of the cutter he now throws in to righties.

Simply put, loading the lineup with right-handed hitters does not makes as much sense.
"He's not conventional to what he used to be," Roberts said about Miley. "So now it's a smaller sample with left versus right with how he's kind of evolved."
Heart surgery can wait for Jansen
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen discussed what it's like knowing you have heart ablation surgery scheduled for the offseason, and the difficulty of playing while on medication that makes him sluggish.

"I feel like I have two different personalities in me right now; one that wants to do the surgery already and then another one who wants to go out there and compete to help your team," said Jansen, who has an irregular heartbeat. "So on this time right now, I feel like I'm so, you know, so numb to it now. It's like I keep telling myself it's maybe one more week of taking this medication.
"It's not easy, definitely not, because when you take it, sometimes you feel sleepy. But you've just got to go through it. This playoff adrenaline definitely helped a little to get myself into it, too. And like I say, I try to not, you know, think too much about it, and keep telling myself this is where we are right now and we've be talking about this the whole year, to try to win a championship, and here we are a game away. You can't take anything for granted and keep focusing on this one game, and everything will take care of the rest."
Jansen has saved two of the Dodgers' three wins in the series.

Hill available in Game 6
Dodgers Game 4 starter Rich Hill said he'll be spiked up and ready for bullpen duty in Game 6 on two days' rest behind starter Hyun-Jin Ryu. Hill allowed one run on three hits with six strikeouts in five innings of the 13-inning marathon the Dodgers won in a walk-off on Cody Bellinger's RBI single.

Clayton Kershaw, who threw seven innings and 98 pitches in the Game 5 win on Wednesday, would be available out of the bullpen on two days of rest if a Game 7 is necessary on Saturday, when Walker Buehler starts.
If Game 7 is not necessary, Kershaw would have five days of rest before World Series Game 1 in Boston on Tuesday night.

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

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