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Dodgers go with more familiar lineup for NLCS Game 5 vs. Braves

Dodgers catcher Will Smith runs to first against the Atlanta Braves.
Dodgers catcher Will Smith is back in the starting lineup for Game 5 of the National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves on Friday.
(Eric Gay / Associated Press)

After breaking out a new lineup in Game 4’s loss, the Dodgers will return to a familiar look with their season on the line in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves.

On Thursday, the Dodgers stacked four left-handed batters against Braves right-hander Bryse Wilson. On Friday, knowing Atlanta plans on a bullpen game, the Dodgers will alternate between right-handed and left-handed batters from one through nine Friday as they did in their first eight playoff games.

Catcher Will Smith, second baseman Chris Taylor and left fielder AJ Pollock are back in the lineup after starting Game 4 on the bench. Joc Pederson will be the designated hitter. Edwin Ríos, who’s homered in each of the last two games, is not in the lineup.

The Braves will have left-hander A.J. Minter open the game because they don’t have a fifth starter. It’ll be his first professional start at any level. In these circumstances, it’s a sensible choice.

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With Max Fried, Ian Anderson and Bryse Wilson, the Atlanta Braves have developed a strong young core of players capable of reaching the World Series.

Dodgers leadoff hitter Mookie Betts has had significant struggles against left-handers and two of the next three hitters are left-handed. Corey Seager, the Dodgers’ No. 2 hitter, clubbed a three-run home run off Minter in Game 2, but he’s been better against right-handed pitchers in his career.

The Dodgers will counter Atlanta’s bullpen effort with a traditional starter: Dustin May. The rookie right-hander hasn’t logged more than two innings in his postseason career. His only other playoff start came as an opener in Game 3 of the NLDS against the San Diego Padres. He threw one scoreless inning. The 23-year-old then threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings in Game 1 of the NLCS.

DODGERS LINEUP
Mookie Betts RF
Corey Seager SS
Justin Turner 3B
Max Muncy 1B
Will Smith C
Cody Bellinger CF
AJ Pollock LF
Joc Pederson DH
Chris Taylor 2B

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Dustin May RHP

BRAVES LINEUP
Ronald Acuña Jr. RF
Freddie Freeman 1B
Marcell Ozuna DH
Travis d’Arnaud C
Ozzie Albies SS
Austin Riley 3B
Nick Markakis LF
Cristian Pache CF

A.J. Minter LHP


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