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Who Will Be the Core Performer for the NLCS Game 5?

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 15:  Carlos Beltran #3 of the St. Louis Cardinals throws his bat after he walks in the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers 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)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Matt KingFeatured ColumnistOctober 16, 2013

The Los Angeles Dodgers get one more game in L.A. as they try to extend the series and stave off elimination a little longer against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cards lead 3-1 and will take the series back to St. Louis if the Dodgers manage to win tonight.

There have been multiple players stepping up in key moments in this series, but who will be the core performer for Game 5? Let's take a look.

 

Joe Kelly

In a rematch of Game 1, Kelly gets the ball again against Zack Greinke. In that matchup, Kelly went six innings, scattering six hits over six innings and giving up two runs in a game that was ultimately decided well after he'd be done for the night. The Cardinals are looking for him to give another quality start and give their bats a chance to get it done.

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 11:  Zack Greinke #21 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts in the third inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game One of the National League Championship Series at Busch Stadium on October 11, 2013 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Pho
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

 

Zack Greinke

Greinke out-dueled Kelly in Game 1, so to speak, giving up just four hits and two runs over eight innings. His one mistake giving up a two-run double to Carlos Beltan, who also singled in the game-winning run in the 13th. If Greinke can give the same kind of performance and manage to rein in Beltran, L.A. may just live to see another game.

 

Carlos Beltran

Speak of the devil. Beltran was the Game 1 hero the last time the Cardinals faced Greinke, but he has yet to get a hit since then. Can he reclaim the magic that got the Cards off to such a hot start in the series, or will he continue slumping?

 

Yasiel Puig

Puig came up big in the Dodgers' Game 3 win, going 2-3 with an RBI triple that helped ignite the team. He's had his struggles this postseason, but has proven to be a catalyst for L.A. You know if Puig has a big game, a Dodgers win is likely.

 

Matt Carpenter

After having an abysmal first series against the Pirates, Carpenter's bat has woken up to an extent in the NLCS. He's hit safely in three of the four games, but the Cardinals are still waiting for a big game from their all-star second baseman. Having that game to send them to the World Series would grant him a lot of forgiveness in St. Louis.

 

Mark Ellis

The Dodgers' 36-year-old second baseman has been quietly consistent for the team. He gets hits. He may not be the guy driving in a bunch of runs, but he could very easily be the one getting knocked in by his teammates if he acts as the table-setter. To get a rally started, most of the time you need guys on base. Ellis could be that guy for a team that is having a bunch of trouble getting there.

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