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NLCS GameThread: Milwaukee Brewers vs Los Angeles Dodgers - Game 1

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Milwaukee and Los Angeles start their best of seven NLCS matchup with Gio Gonzalez on the mound for the Brewers against Dodgers’ lefty Clayton Kershaw in the series opener in Miller Park.

New York Mets v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Milwaukee swept their three-game series with the Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles beat the Atlanta Braves in four to set up the Brewers and Dodgers’ NLCS matchup, which starts tonight in Miller Park with Gio Gonzalez on the mound against Clayton Kershaw in a battle of left-handers in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series.

Brewers’ manager Craig Counsell, who was born in Indiana but grew up and attended high school in Wisconsin, talked before the start of the series about playing a part in bringing postseason baseball back to Milwaukee for the first time since 2011 in his fourth season on the bench with the Brewers team he played for in six of his 16 seasons as a major leaguer.

“It’s a thrill,” Counsell said.

“Look, I think my idea after I retired was to be a part of this organization in any way I could, to help baseball in Milwaukee and in Wisconsin. I didn’t set out with a plan to become the manager or do anything else. I wanted to help.

“We’ve gotten to this day or this point, and so it’s pretty cool, for sure.

“But I do feel like baseball in Wisconsin and Milwaukee is part of my responsibility, and the best reason to celebrate this for me is how you see it makes everybody feel and how we’ve been able to take our fans on a journey here this month, and hopefully find some new fans that are enjoying baseball.”

Dave Roberts’ Dodgers are back in the postseason for the sixth straight year overall and the third in a row with him on the bench, but as he said after beating the Braves in Game 4 of their NLDS matchup, his team took a different route back to the playoffs this year, and had to fight down the stretch to earn the right to play in October again, and he thinks they’re playing their best baseball right now.

“I do,” Roberts said. “And I said that sometime in September I felt we were playing our best baseball, collectively. And we took a hard path to get to this point, but I do think it made us stronger and kind of galvanized our team. But, you know, we celebrate tonight, but I know that -- we all know that there’s a lot more work to be done and we have eight more wins to go.”

Roberts and the Dodgers will try take the series opener with Kershaw starting after he threw eight scoreless against Atlanta in his one start in the Division Series.

The Dodgers and Brewers kick things off tonight at 8:09 PM EDT...