Your Friday NLCS guide: Dodgers eye World Series return

Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports

Friday night's Game 6 of the National League Championship Series will see a repeat of the Game 2 matchup, ultimately won by the Dodgers, as L.A.'s Hyun-Jin Ryu takes the mound in Milwaukee against the Brewers' Wade Miley. It could mean a second straight pennant for the Dodgers -- or a do-or-die finale on Saturday. The American League champion Red Sox await in the World Series.

The most important thing of the day: Despite the Dodgers' victory in Game 2, Miley outpitched Ryu, tossing 5⅔ scoreless frames to Ryu's 4⅓-inning, two-run performance. Both were good enough, though, and the game came down to a battle of the bullpens -- where rough outings for Corbin Burnes and Jeremy Jeffress helped drown the Brew Crew. But All-Star reliever Josh Hader had pitched three innings the night before and didn't pitch in Game 2. With Milwaukee facing elimination and Hader rested, another bullpen game could look a lot different.

NLCS Game 6: Los Angeles Dodgers at Milwaukee Brewers

Hyun-Jin Ryu (7-3, 1.97 ERA) vs. Wade Miley (5-2, 2.57 ERA), 8:39 p.m. ET, FS1 and ESPN Radio

The stakes: A pennant for the Dodgers or a night in purgatory for both teams.

If the Brewers win: They'll get another shot at keeping their season alive -- and at making their first World Series appearance since 1982 -- in front of a home crowd at Miller Park in Game 7.

If the Dodgers win: It has been exactly 40 years since the Dodgers made a repeat trip to the Fall Classic. L.A., which fell to Houston last year, also lost to the Yankees in both 1977 and 1978. A World Series win this year would be the Dodgers' first in 30 years.

One key stat to know: In a bit of skullduggery by Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell, lefty Miley was pulled from Game 5 after only one batter in favor of right-hander Brandon Woodruff. The plan? To draw Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts into using a starting lineup optimized to face a left-handed pitcher. The result (other than Milwaukee's 5-2 loss)? Yet again, the Brewers went deep into their bullpen. Milwaukee relievers have now tossed 33⅔ innings in the NLCS, the most by a pen in the first five games of any postseason series in MLB history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The big question is how big a toll all of those innings will take on the relievers' effectiveness.

The matchup that matters most: The Brewers would love to get some production from Christian Yelich, who ended the regular season as the hottest hitter in baseball but has cooled down considerably. Since going 2-for-3 in Game 1 of the NL Division Series against Colorado, he's 3-for-25 (.120) with a .453 OPS, eight walks, five strikeouts and no extra-base hits or RBIs. He has had some luck against Ryu (3-for-9 with a double and homer), but watch for the L.A. lefty to challenge Yelich with four-seam fastballs. They're Ryu's favorite pitch (33 percent usage in the regular season), and Yelich is just 1-for-11 on at-bats ending on four-seamers this postseason.

The prediction: This NLCS deserves a Game 7, and I predict we will get it with Milwaukee coming home and beating the Dodgers in Game 6. Miller Park is going to be rocking with several extra boos for Manny Machado added to the mix from the time Miley throws the first pitch (and, this time, more than four more after that) to the final out. Brewers 4, Dodgers 2 -- Dan Mullen, ESPN.com