The Los Angeles Dodgers have to overcome a new foe from the
National League Central to make it back to the World Series for the second year
in a row.After battling with the Chicago Cubs for the last two seasons in the
the Dodgers take on the Milwaukee Brewers with the right to play either the
Boston Red Sox or Houston Astros in the World Series on the line.The Dodgers are
hoping to clinch their 20th World Series appearance in franchise history, but
the Brewers are more than willing to put up a fight and earn a return to the
championship series for the first time since 1982.The series between the pair of
division winners will be tight across the board, as both sides possess powerful
lineups and impressive pitching staffs, but there will be a few players who
shine the brightest and emerge as difference-makers over seven games.NLCS
ScheduleAll times ET.Game 1:Friday, October 12 at Milwaukee (8:09 p.m., FS1)Game
2:Saturday, October 13 at Milwaukee (4:09 p.m., Fox)Game 3:Monday, October 15 at
Los Angeles (7:39 p.m., FS1)Game 4:Tuesday, October 16 at Los Angeles (9:09
p.m. Craig
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, FS1)Game 5:Wednesday, October 17 at Los Angeles
(5:05 p.m., FS1)*Game 6:Friday, October 19 at Milwaukee (8:39 p.m., FS1)*Game
7:Saturday, October 20 at Milwaukee (9:09 p.m., FS1)**-if necessary Odds (via
OddsShark)Game 1:Los Angeles (-140; bet $140 to win $100); Milwaukee (+130; bet
$100 to win $140)Ticket InfoAll available tickets for each game of the NLCS can
be found on StubHub.PredictionsMoustakas Turns into Milwaukee's Most Important
PlayerMike Moustakas is one of the few players on the Milwaukee roster with
World Series experience.In the 2015 World Series, Moustakas hit .304 for the
Kansas City Royals after driving in five runs during the ALCS.Moustakas was one
of the Brewers' top hitters in the NLDS, and he'll extend that hot streak at the
plate into the NLCS.Dylan Buell/Getty ImagesThe third baseman recorded four hits
in 11 at-bats against the Colorado Rockies from a spot in the order beneath
Christian Yelich and Ryan Braun, who are seen as the top threats in the
lineup.With a handful of heavy hitters in front of him in the lineup, Moustakas
will have the opportunity to drive in runs and extend rallies against the
Dodgers' pitching staff.Moustakas' form at the plate shouldn't come as a
surprise to anyone George
Springer Jersey
, as he was one of Milwaukee's most consistent
players at the dish in September.The midseason acquisition had a hit in eight of
the final 10 regular-season games and he produced 14 RBI in September.Buehler
Emerges as X-Factor on Dodgers' StaffWalker Buehler might not get the ball until
Game 3 if the Dodgers follow their rotation from the NLDS, but when he does,
he'll turn the series in the Dodgers' favor.Clayton Kershaw is slated to start
Game 1, and Hyun-Jin Ryu should be able to go for Game 2 on extended rest, which
means Buehler would open up the team's NLCS home slate.Buehler was roughed up by
the Atlanta Braves in Game 3 of the NLDS, as he gave up five earned runs over
five innings.Harry How/Getty ImagesDespite the tough outing, Buehler still
struck out seven batters, and the Dodgers hope his form from after the All-Star
break carries over into the NLCS and erases the NLDS performance from his
mind.In 14 regular-season starts since July, including the NL West tiebreaker
against the Rockies, Buehler gave up five earned runs twice.In September,
Buehler conceded seven earned runs over six starts ,
with his masterpiece coming in the September 19 win over the Rockies in which he
fanned 12.Buehler's last four home starts have been outstanding, as he's let up
a single earned run, which is why the Dodgers should start him in Game 3 to pull
back any lost momentum from the opening games in Milwaukee.The 24-year-old's
performance in Game 3 will warrant another start, or an extended appearance in
relief, as the Dodgers attempt to keep the Brewers off balance at the
plate.Follow Joe on Twitter, JTansey90.Statistics obtained from Baseball
Reference. Price may be an AL Cy Young Award winner and two-time AL ERA
champion, but it was nearly impossible to coat his postseason track record in
sugar before Thursday.Exactlyone of his 11 playoff starts featured more than six
innings pitched and two or fewer runs allowed. And while there weren't many
glaring differences between his regular-season peripherals and his postseason
peripherals, there was this one: He'd allowed 1.7 homers per nine innings in the
playoffs, compared to 0.9 otherwise.How to explain all this? Good question.
Price obviously had it in him to be a great pitcher in October. For whatever
reason, he just...wasn't.In any case, what matters now is how Price broke his
postseason curse. Put simply: He threw the heck out of the ball and didn't give
Astros hitters a single inch.Despite basically not getting any rest ahead of
Game 5 Carlos
Correa Jersey
, Price had afastballthatsat at 94 mph and climbed as
high as 96 mph. He rarely had that kind of average velocityor maximum velocity
this season.The 33-year-old also brought one hell of a changeup to play with. He
expertly kept it on the same plane as his hard stuff, right up until the bottom
dropped out of it as it entered the hitting zone.Via Rob Friedman, cue Jose
Altuve's illustration of how Astros hitters had no answer for the pitch:Rob
Friedman PitchingNinjaYet another David Price Filthy Changeup. hYKApabqysPrice
collected 12 swings and misses on his changeup alone and 15 total. The latter
shattered his previous career high (12) for whiffs in a playoff game.In addition
to keeping Astros hitters off balance, Price attacked the strike zone with a
vengeance. He threw first-pitch strikes to 14 of the 21 batters he faced and
ended up with 65 strikes out of 93 total pitches. That's a rate of 70 percent.In
short, the Red Sox got vintage Price in Game 5. This is arguably a first for his
three seasons with the team, which have been frequently marked by subpar stuff
and command.But better late than never, as they say, and both Price and the Red
Sox have every reason to feel thrilled about it.Price just cut down all his
postseason demons with one fell swoop. The Red Sox have won as many American
League pennants since 2004 as they did from 1919 to 2003 (four). If Price has
any more wherethat came from, they may not have much trouble overcoming either
the Los Angeles Dodgers or Milwaukee Brewers to claim their fourth World Series
championship since 2004.Good stuff for a player and team that people used to
think were cursed.Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and Baseball
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