Wednesday's LCS guide: Clayton Kershaw in spotlight; Astros turn to Charlie Morton

Charlie Morton sealed up the Astros' World Series win last year. Will he deliver in their biggest game of 2018? AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

After about 10 hours (and 680 pitches) of high-stakes tension Tuesday (into Wednesday morning), we turn up the heat with another league championship series doubleheader. First, the Dodgers and Brewers face a quick turnaround following their 13-inning affair for a critical Game 5, then the Astros try to get even with the Red Sox in Game 4 of the ALCS in the nightcap.

The most important thing of the day: The best pitcher of his generation, Clayton Kershaw, who can opt out of his contract at the end of the season, toes the rubber for one of the biggest starts of his career in what could be his final home game -- or his final game, period -- with the Dodgers. It doesn't get more dramatic than that.

National League Championship Series Game 5: Milwaukee Brewers at Los Angeles Dodgers

Wade Miley (5-2, 2.57 ERA) vs. Clayton Kershaw (9-5, 2.73 ERA), 5:05 p.m. ET, FS1 and ESPN Radio

The stakes: With the series down to a best-of-three, this is clearly a big swing game, particularly for the Dodgers, who have their ace on the hill and would face winning two in a row at Miller Park if they lose Wednesday. In best-of-seven series with a 2-3-2 format, teams heading on the road for Games 6 and 7 while trailing 3-2 have ended up winning the series only 25 percent of the time (11-33).

If the Brewers win: They'll be sitting pretty, needing only one win at home to close out the series with Kershaw's starts in the rearview mirror.

If the Dodgers win: Momentum will be on their side, riding the wave of Tuesday night's dramatics to the brink of their second straight World Series appearance and a chance for their first title in 30 years.

One key stat to know: Even after Cody Bellinger plated Manny Machado for the winning run in the 13th inning of Game 4, the Dodgers are hitting a combined .190 with runners in scoring position and .200 with runners on base in the postseason. Bellinger and Machado are the only Dodgers with more than one hit with runners in scoring position in the playoffs.

The matchup that matters most: If anybody is likely to spoil Kershaw's day, it would be Christian Yelich. The Brewers' MVP candidate has two homers off the Dodgers' ace in 20 plate appearances over his career while going 9-for-18 with two walks. Yelich whiffed and walked against Kershaw in Game 1. Who will come out on top in the rematch? (Another interesting matchup could be Yelich -- and his Milwaukee teammates -- against Machado, whose baserunning in Game 4 cleared both benches and inspired Yelich to call Machado a "dirty player.")

The prediction: When we got to L.A., I thought this series would head back to Milwaukee with the Dodgers up 3-2 and I'm sticking with that -- but anything could happen given the way this series has changed course at a moment's notice.

Last NLCS start for both pitchers aside, the pitching matchup certainly favors Kershaw over Miley, but the Brewers' bullpen is in better shape than the Dodgers' pen in the aftermath of Tuesday's 13-inning game. Both teams will have to deal with the turnaround for an afternoon start after a late-night extra-inning affair, but the Dodgers will be doing so energized while the Brewers will have to quickly turn the page from a tough loss, and that could make a big difference in Game 5. Dodgers 4, Brewers 3 -- Dan Mullen, ESPN.com

American League Championship Series Game 4: Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros

Rick Porcello (17-7, 4.28 ERA) vs. Charlie Morton (15-3, 3.13 ERA), 8:39 p.m. ET, TBS and ESPN Radio

The stakes: Just the difference between getting back to an even split or setting up an elimination game in Houston. So either way, drama.

If the Astros win: They'll guarantee a return to Boston with Justin Verlander on the hill in Game 5. And once they get to Fenway, they might get another shot at beating David Price if the tough-luck lefty gets the nod for Game 6. Remember, he's still 0-9 in 11 postseason starts despite Boston's win in Game 2.

If the Red Sox win: They'll have the Astros on the ropes but will be facing Verlander in Houston with Chris Sale hurting and manager Alex Cora mulling a choice between Eduardo Rodriguez or a bullpen game if Sale can't go. All three of those choices might add up to a bullpen game, which could be a tough way to stymie the Astros at home.

One key stat to know: Since his release by the Astros, J.D. Martinez has hit four home runs in Houston in 75 plate appearances as a visiting player over the past five seasons but only one against an active Astro -- Gerrit Cole, earlier this year during the regular season.

The matchup that matters most: Porcello vs. Astros cleanup hitter Yuli Gurriel if manager A.J. Hinch lets it ride on the lineup card. If somebody is supposed to make the Red Sox pay for giving Alex Bregman a pass time and again from the 3-hole, it's supposed to be Gurriel. He hit a three-run homer in Game 1 to help seal the Astros' win but has come up empty in four RISP situations in the two games since. He has five career hits against Porcello in 12 at-bats, four of them for extra bases.

The prediction: OK, Red Sox fans, you might not like this one. When I pick the Red Sox to win, they lose. When I pick them to lose, they win. I think Charlie Morton is a big wild card. He hasn't pitched in two weeks and has thrown only four innings over the past month. The Astros do have a deep bullpen that led the majors in ERA, but other than Ryan Pressly, they haven't necessarily locked things down either. Meanwhile, Joe Kelly, Ryan Brasier and Matt Barnes have given up only one unearned run in 15 innings in the postseason. They're hot. Red Sox 4, Astros 3. -- David Schoenfield, ESPN.com