“Obviously we all know what we have in front of us with Kershaw going in Game 6,” Cubs ace Jon Lester said after his victory in Game 5 Thursday night. “Hopefully he’s not the good Kershaw and we get kind of the mediocre guy that gives up a few runs.”It sounds like Lester is aware Kershaw has not been at his best often on the elimination stage. But Kershaw was pretty close to it last Sunday when he held the Cubs to two hits over seven scoreless innings, pitching the Dodgers to a 1-0 victory in Game 2 at Wrigley Field.He is being asked to do it again against a Cubs team that came to life the past two games and now will be playing at home where they had the best record in baseball (57-24) during the regular season and have gone 3-1 in the postseason.“Pitchers definitely don’t have an advantage,” Kershaw said of facing the same team in such close succession. “I don’t know if the hitters have an advantage. But pitchers — the more you see somebody, the more familiar you get with them. I mean, that’s true for sure.“I don’t think there’s anything that you do to counteract it. I said this the other day … there’s no secrets in the game right now. There’s so much information. They know every pitch that I throw and every count and every situation. So it’s just a matter of not really focusing on that and just trying to compete every single pitch and execute every single pitch. You may have a little less margin for error facing them the second time. Just be better, I guess.”Kershaw might do well to offer that same directive to the bullpen behind him.His undoing in past postseasons, the Dodgers’ relief corps was supposed to be a strength this October. It has not been. The bullpen has been culpable in each of the Dodgers’ three losses in this series, allowing 18 of the 26 runs the Cubs scored in Games 1, 4 and 5.The Dodgers’ only victories in the NLCS have come by shutout in Games 2 and 3 with Kershaw and Rich Hill doing the heavy lifting. Those two are lined up to start again this weekend — if Kershaw can play hero first.“It’s going to be a formidable event,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said with apparent relish of the series returning to Wrigley Field. “If they’re on top of their game — let’s start with Kershaw. If he’s on top of his game, it’s going to be another very close, low-scoring game. We just have to be at our best to eke out as many runs as we can. And on the other side, you have to pitch better than good pitching to win.“We have to go back there and play our A game to beat these two — or the first outstanding pitcher and hopefully that’s all we have to face.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error LOS ANGELES >> Before this postseason run began, the Dodgers declared their independence.No more would their October fortunes be tied to one man. No more would Clayton Kershaw have to carry them on his back as far as they would go. Even Kershaw acknowledged he felt “different” about his level of responsibility for his team’s postseason fate this year.And yet, it has come to this again. The Dodgers are asking Kershaw to rescue them once again and carry them forward, to fight at least another day, when he takes the mound for Game 6 of the National League Championship Series on Saturday at Wrigley Field.“I do believe in momentum,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after the Chicago Cubs outscored the Dodgers 18-6 to win Games 4 and 5 at Dodger Stadium. “But I also believe that the next day’s starting pitcher has a lot to do with momentum. So I like our guy.” Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez assessed his team’s dire situation with faux simplicity.“We’ve won two games in a row before,” he said. “It’s nothing we can’t do Saturday and Sunday.”Kershaw has been in this position before. Annually, it seems.Since 2013, Kershaw has pitched in five postseason games with the Dodgers facing elimination. They have won three of those five although Kershaw has a 5.84 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in those games.But Kershaw is on a roll. In his past three appearances in elimination games — he went seven innings and held the New York Mets to one run (a win in Game 4 of last year’s NL Division Series), pitched into the seventh again only to have his bullpen let him down (but the Dodgers won Game 4 against the Nationals) and came back two days later to close out the Dodgers’ Game 5 victory in Washington.
WITH the Pick-9 and Super-6s having been caught on Wednesday, both start anew on tomorrow’s mammoth 13-race programme, which commences as early as 11.15 a.m. The Pick-9 will embrace races five to 13, the first Super-6 from race one to six, the late Super-6 from eight to 13. We look at the first Super-6, which commences with a $550,000-$500,000 claiming race to be contested by seven starters over 1400 metres, including the recent winner, FORCE DE JOUR, with 3.0kg claiming apprentice Bebeto Harvey riding for veteran trainer Robert Darby Sr. FORCE DE JOUR beat RED FLAG and EDISON over 1100 metres on January 31 in a highly competitive overnight allowance race, and now edging down to high claiming company, should tick off his eighth win from his last 11 races. ACTION MAN, who won recently, and the consistent GOLDEN BULLET, should ensure that FORCE DE JOUR is extended. RICHIE’S PIK, with champion jockey Shane Ellis riding for trainer Collin Blair, looks best of a moderate lot in the second race again over 1400 for maiden four-year-olds and up. The four-year-old son of War Marshall was a fast-finishing second to LAGUNA POINT over the straight course on January 1 and followed up with a fair effort behind MINY LEE on January 9. On both occasions, he was ridden by the sparingly-used jockey Phillip Parchment. Ellis could make all the difference tomorrow. LEGAL ARENA looks the obvious danger in a field of 10. SIR BIGGS, who has been knocking at the door lately, gets the nod over old rival SCAR in the third race over a mile to be contested by nine starters. SIR BIGGS, who will now be ridden by top apprentice Linton Steadman for trainer Donovan Plummer, went under in a close finish to TURBO MACHINE CAT over 1400 metres on January 31, a race in which SCAR was just behind in third and is a danger to SIR BIGGS as a result of that performance. The last three races in the first Super-6 should be won by GOLD MINER (Omar Walker up), down in class DA JACKAL (Aaron Chatrie), and ALEXANDER with Dane Nelson aboard. FIRST SUPER-6 FANCIES (1) FORCE DE HOUR/GOLDEN BULLET (2) RICHIE’S PIK/LEGAL ARENA (3) SIR BIGGS (4) GOLD MINER/ZANDRINA (5) DA JACKAL/CHEERS (6) ALEXANDER/EXPRESS TRUCK
18Mar Franz welcomes local students to Lansing State Rep. Ray Franz met with Leelanau County 4-H students today during MSU’s 4-H Capitol Experience. Pictured from left: Franz, Olena Radulova from Glen Lake High School, 4-H leader Karin Stevens, and Andrew Roberts from Leland High School. The annual MSU conference focuses on civic engagement by teaching participants how to influence public policy, helping them increase their leadership and citizenship skills, and providing greater understanding and knowledge of state government. Categories: News