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Wednesday, October 14, 2009
The sound is familiar from last year, I remember the cry from the stands in Philadelphia, "Beat LA, beat LA...." to the strains of a guy who was a few rows back but was straining his voice as far as it could be strained while yelling this. Soon everyone joined in and it became a chorus. But exactly how do you go about beating LA?
One of the hottest players on the team is Andre Ethier. Not exactly a household name around here, but we remember he can play and hit the ball a little from last year in the playoffs. Either went 2-3 in the first game against the St. Louis Cardinals in the playoffs and then finished off the third game of the sweep with a 3-5 game. Ethier scored five runs in the NLDS series against the Cards and had 3 RBI.
Another LA Dodger player who usually does well against the Phillies is James Loney. For some reason, Loney likes to play against the Phillies because he does well against them. In last year's NLCS, Loney was an incredible 7-16 or .438 BA for the series. He had a below average 3-12 vs. the St. Louis Cards in the series that the Dodgers just completed, so he'll look to improve upon this in the NLCS. You also have tough players in Casey Blake and Manny Ramirez.
The early line had the Dodgers putting Randy Wolf up against Cole Hamels, that was incorrect and now the Dodgers have announced they will pitch Clayton Kershaw against Hamels for Game 1 in LA on Thursday night. Kershaw is just in his second year on the LA Dodger team. He is an average pitcher, going 8-8 in the regular season with only a 2.79 ERA. Kershaw already has appeared against the Phillies in NLCS play from 2008, the Dodgers lost both games Game 2 and Game 4 in which Kershaw appeared but he didn't start any of the games.
The NLCS started in Philadelphia last year, and the Phillies had home field advantage then. The starting pitchers will be different this time around for the Dodgers. Chad Billingsley is no longer the force he was billed as last year. He was 12-11 over the season in 2009, with a 4.03 ERA. He didn't even pitch in the series against the Cardinals as the Dodgers got the 3 game sweep. Joe Torre doesn't have him in the first four games either against the Phillies. Torre's rotation will be Kershaw, Padilla, Kuroda, and Wolf. Yes, that's two former Phillies that will face their old team. This Dodger rotation is not really that deep and the Phillies may have a field day with this series in my opinion.
Looking at the Dodger pitching I would say that if the Phillies can keep the Dodgers off the bases offensively, they have a great chance of winning this series. If the Phillies pitchers can't contain the Dodgers batters, the problem will be the Phils just outscoring the Dodgers on the field.