LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 15: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after grounding into a double play in the ninth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals in Game Four of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 15, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
The Dodgers lost 4-2 on Tuesday in Game 4 of the NLCS, bringing them to the brink of elimination. With just one more loss in the next three games their season will be over.
Down 3-1 in the series with St. Louis, the two teams will be looking to their Game 1 starters, Zack Greinke and Joe Kelly. When they faced off on Friday the starters combined for 14 innings pitched, 10 hits, four earned runs, and 15 strikeouts.
It is a do-or-die game for Los Angeles, but having Greinke on the mound has to give them some confidence. He has pitched strong in the playoffs so far, and has not given up more than two earned runs since July 25.
In 2013, the Dodgers have 11 streaks of three straight wins, and they will be sending out the top end of their rotation set to take on the Cardinals.
Despite losing two of their first three games, the Dodger starters have been delivering in the NLCS. Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, and Hyun-Jin Ryu have combined for four earned runs in 21 innings with 19 strikeouts and just nine hits.
Obviously, pitching is not the problem. If only the bats could put some runs not the board. Mark Ellis and Carl Crawford are the only players averaging more than one hit per game in the series, while Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier and Juan Uribe are a combined 8-41.
On top of all of that, Hanley Ramirez has struggled since fracturing a rib in Game 1, and is unlikely to start Game 5. Ramirez was in visible pain on Tuesday, and was pulled in the seventh inning.
It almost seems as though the Dodgers only offensive threat comes in rookie Yasiel Puig. While he started the series horribly, he has bounced back with four hits and two RBIs in the last two games.
So this is what the Dodgers season comes down to. It has been a magical year and they have defied all the odds thus far, but a 3-1 hole with two games left in St. Louis is a very formidable challenge.
At this point, they cannot worry about winning three in a row. This is where the old cliche, "Take it one game at a time" comes into play. They have to win on Wednesday in Game 5 to keep the season alive, and with Zack Greinke on the mound they have to like their chances.