The Dodgers are in do-or-die territory now, but managed to pull off a win in Game 5 of the NLCS on Wednesday. During postgame interviews, they talked about an emotional Game 5, returning to St. Louis and having their ace, Clayton Kershaw, on the mound for Game 6.
Don Mattingly thinks the Dodgers are "America's Team," even if it will last only for one more game.
"I think if you look at it now we've kind of become America's team because everyone wants to see a seventh game," he said. "Probably even the fans in St. Louis would like to see a seventh game, so I figure that everybody's for us to win on Friday night. "
Is the pressure of playoffs getting to the Dodger manager? It doesn't sound like it.
"No matter what the game is, it's still baseball," Mattingly said. "You're trying to make baseball decisions to do what you have to do to win. Obviously didn't like being down 3‑1, and now not necessarily thrilled about having another elimination game."
The Dodgers will at least have their ace on the mound: "Obviously it's a pretty good feeling with Clayton pitching on Friday," Mattingly said. "So, we breathe till then. We feel like Clayton pretty much is going to keep you in the game and give you a chance if we can put some runs up. We know their guy (pitcher Michael Wacha) is really good, so it will be fun."
Zack Greinke talked about the pressure he faced to open the game with bases loaded and no outs.
"It was huge.That was big," he said. "I was real nervous out there with that situation and trying to make a good pitch and get Adams to chase and get him into a double‑play."
He tried to break down the inning play-by-play and ended up just saying, "It was just, I mean, it worked out." Yes it did, Zack.
Greinke on whether him and Kershaw have a competition, or push each other to do better: "Qe have a hitting competition every month. But pitching‑wise, we don't talk about it. I don't try to compete with him because I don't think it's possible to. Try, maybe, just try to come as close as possible."
One last note from Greinke. He wants this thing to go seven games more than anyone else.
"I'm in last place (in the team fantasy football league). I'm tied for last place, so I've got a bet that I won't be in last place by the time the season's over. So I needed to go to Sunday for that. I've got a $10 bet on it, so it's important."
Game 5 was emotional for the entire team, but they are ready for the next one. Carl Crawford said, "We know we have a good team. We know what we have in the clubhouse. We believe in ourselves. We trust one another. To be honest with you, I just think guys weren't ready to lose today. We have to take it one game at a time."
When a reporter asked Adrian Gonzalez about his feelings of having Kershaw starting Game 6, the reporter said, "Kershaw is obviously one of the best pitchers in baseball…" he was interrupted by Gonzalez with a retort, "Not one of the best. The best."
These Dodgers play with an enormous amount of pride and support for each other, and it shows through in just that small moment.
Gonzalez knows that Kershaw cannot win Game 6 on his own, though, and the offense let him down in his last start.
"With Kershaw, we're fully comfortable he's going to do the same job he did in Game 2," Gonzalez said. "All we have to do is score for him."
The Dodgers appear confident and ready to head to St. Louis for Game 6, and they should with Kershaw heading for the mound.