A capsule look at the NL championship series

BY foxsports • October 15, 2009

A look at the best-of-seven National League championship series between the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers: Schedule: (All times EDT) Game 1, Thursday, at Los Angeles (8:07 p.m.); Game 2, Friday, at Los Angeles (4:07 p.m.); Game 3, Sunday, at Philadelphia (8:07 p.m.); Game 4, Monday, Oct. 19, at Philadelphia (8:07 p.m.); x-Game 5, Wednesday, Oct. 21, at Philadelphia (8:07 p.m.); x-Game 6, Friday, Oct. 23, at Los Angeles (8:07 p.m.); x-Game 7, Saturday, Oct. 24, at Los Angeles (8:07 p.m.). (All games on TBS). x-if necessary. --- Season Series: Los Angeles won 4-3. --- Projected Lineups Phillies: SS Jimmy Rollins (.250, 21, 77, 100 runs, 31 SBs), CF Shane Victorino (.292, 10, 62, 102 runs, 25 SBs), 2B Chase Utley (.282, 31, 93, 112 runs, 23 for 23 SBs), 1B Ryan Howard (.279, 45, 141, 105 runs), RF Jayson Werth (.268, 36, 99, 20 SBs), LF Raul Ibanez (.272, 34, 93), 3B Pedro Feliz (.266, 12, 82), C Carlos Ruiz (.255, 9, 43). Dodgers: SS Rafael Furcal (.269, 9, 47), RF Andre Ethier (.272, 31, 106), LF Manny Ramirez (.290, 19, 63, 81 strikeouts, 71 walks), CF Matt Kemp (.297, 26, 101, 34 SBs), 3B Casey Blake (.280, 18, 79), 1B James Loney (.281, 13, 90), 2B Orlando Hudson (.283, 9, 62) or Ronnie Belliard (.277, 10, 39), C Russell Martin (.250, 7, 53). --- Projected Rotations Phillies: LH Cole Hamels (10-11, 4.32), RH Pedro Martinez (5-1, 3.63 in 9 starts), LH Cliff Lee (7-4, 3.39 in 12 starts with Phillies after trade from Cleveland; 14-13, 3.22 overall), LH J.A. Happ (12-4, 2.93) or RH Joe Blanton (12-8, 4.05). Dodgers: LH Clayton Kershaw (8-8, 2.79), RH Vicente Padilla (4-0, 3.20 in 8 games, 7 starts with Dodgers after getting cut by Texas; 12-6, 4.46 overall), RH Hiroki Kuroda (8-7, 3.76), LH Randy Wolf (11-7, 3.23). --- Relievers Phillies: RH Brad Lidge (0-8, 7.21, 31/42 saves), RH Ryan Madson (5-5, 3.26, 10/16 saves), RH Brett Myers (4-3, 4.84 in 18 games, 8 relief appearances), RH Clay Condrey (6-2, 3.00), RH Chad Durbin (2-2, 4.39), LH Scott Eyre (2-1, 1.50), LH Antonio Bastardo (2-3, 6.46 in 6 games, 5 starts). Dodgers: RH Jonathan Broxton (7-2, 2.61, 36/42 saves), LH George Sherrill (1-0, 0.65, 1 save in 30 games with Dodgers after trade from Baltimore; 1-1, 1.70, 21 saves overall), LH Hong-Chih Kuo (2-0, 3.00), RH Ramon Troncoso (5-4, 2.72, 6 saves), RH Ronald Belisario (4-3, 2.04), RH Jeff Weaver (6-4, 3.65), RH Guillermo Mota (3-4, 3.44), RH James McDonald (5-5, 4.00), RH Jon Garland (11-13, 4.01 in 33 starts with Diamondbacks and Dodgers), RH Chad Billingsley (12-11, 4.03). --- Matchups A rematch of last year's NL championship series, won by the Phillies in five games. Hamels was 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in 2 starts, earning MVP honors. He struck out 13 and walked 5 in 14 innings. ... This is the fifth time these teams have met in the NLCS. Tom Lasorda and the Dodgers won in 1977 and 1978 before Philadelphia's "Wheeze Kids" took the 1983 NL pennant. League championship series were a best-of-five format back then, and all three matchups ended in four games. ... The teams split a four-game series at Dodger Stadium from June 4-7, when Lidge blew consecutive save chances. Ethier had a pair of game-winning hits, including a 12th-inning homer off Durbin. Hamels pitched a five-hitter in a 3-0 win, becoming the first opposing pitcher to throw a shutout at Dodger Stadium since Arizona's Brandon Webb on Aug. 5, 2007. ... Minus Ramirez because of a drug suspension, the Dodgers won two of three in Philadelphia from May 12-14. Before that, they had lost seven straight in Philadelphia, including the 2008 NLCS. ... Werth tied a Phillies record with four stolen bases in one game during that series - including a rare steal of home. Three came in one inning, and Philadelphia stole six bases during that game. ... Wolf pitched for Philadelphia from 1999-2006. His fan club there called itself the Wolf Pack and used to sit in the bleachers wearing masks when he pitched. ... Hamels is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in 4 career regular-season starts against Los Angeles. ... Ruiz batted .571 (8 for 14) with a homer and 5 RBIs vs. the Dodgers this season. Rollins, Utley, Victorino and Howard were all held under .200. ... Lidge had a 7.36 ERA in 4 appearances against the Dodgers. ... Loney hit .393 (11 for 28) with 2 homers and 6 RBIs against the Phillies this year. Blake and Kemp both batted .333. ... Broxton struck out 8 and walked 1 in 3 innings vs. Philadelphia. He was 2-0 with a 6.00 ERA in 3 outings. ... Kershaw was 0-2 with a 5.23 ERA in 2 starts against Philadelphia this year. Wolf was 1-1 with a 5.11 ERA in 2 starts. ... Ethier had no RBIs in 22 at-bats in last year's NLCS. ... The Dodgers and Phillies had the two best records in the NL this season. --- Big Picture Phillies: Coming off their third straight NL East title, the Phillies (93-69) are trying to become the first team to repeat as World Series champions since the New York Yankees won three in a row from 1998-2000. Charlie Manuel's team didn't have to play catch-up this season, leading the division since May 30. Then, Philadelphia beat wild-card Colorado 3-1 in the first round of the playoffs. ... Lee went 1-0 with a 1.10 ERA in 2 starts against the Rockies. He threw 16 1-3 innings. Utley was 6 for 14 (.429) with 4 walks, 5 runs and a pair of stolen bases. Howard was particularly clutch, hitting .375 (6 for 16) with 3 doubles and 6 RBIs. Werth homered twice and finished 5 for 14 (.357) with a triple, 4 RBIs and 5 runs. He also walked 4 times. Victorino batted .353 (6 for 17) and scored 4 runs. ... After a tough start at home this season, the Phillies were 32-14 at Citizens Bank Park from July 1 on. They had the best road record in the majors at 48-33. Then they went 2-0 at chilly Coors Field in the division series. ... The Phillies hit a club-record 224 homers and became the 12th team in major league history to have four players with 30. ... The bullpen, a major strength during last year's championship run, was decimated by injuries and inconsistency. But Lidge, who had 11 blown saves during the season, closed out both one-run wins in Colorado. He looked sharp in his last two regular-season outings, too. ... Happ, the team's most consistent starter all season, made a brief start against the Rockies and pitched out of the bullpen as well. The rookie's versatility is important to the Phillies because they're short on left-handed relievers. He's been effective in any role. ... A potent lineup boasts power and speed. No other NL team had 200 homers and 100 steals. ... Fans flocked to the ballpark in Philadelphia, selling it out 73 times and setting a club attendance record. Dodgers: Joe Torre's team held off wild-card Colorado to win the NL West, giving the Dodgers consecutive division titles for the first time since 1977-78. Then they swept NL Central champion St. Louis 3-0 in the first round. Ethier was 6 for 12 with 2 homers and 5 runs. Furcal also batted .500, with a triple and 2 RBIs. Ramirez went 4 for 13 (.308) with 3 doubles. ... The last time the Dodgers made it to the World Series was 1988, when they upset Oakland. Los Angeles swept the Chicago Cubs in the first round last year, then fell short against Philadelphia in the NLCS. ... The Dodgers clinched the division on the penultimate day of the regular season, beating the Rockies 5-0 to end a five-game losing streak. Los Angeles took sole possession of first place for good on April 19 and finished an NL-best 95-67 in its second season under Torre - the first time the Dodgers had the league's best record since 1983. ... It is Torre's 14th straight playoff appearance, tying a record for managers set by Atlanta's Bobby Cox (1991-2005). Torre guided the Yankees to the postseason in all 12 years as their manager from 1996-2007. A win in this series could produce a juicy matchup against his former team, if New York gets by the Los Angeles Angels in the ALCS. ... The Dodgers, who set a modern major league record by winning their first 13 home games, finished 50-31 at Chavez Ravine - their best home mark since going 54-27 in 1991. They also won both home games in the division series. ... Los Angeles went 29-21 this year while Ramirez served a 50-game drug suspension. ... Ramirez, who has a record 28 postseason home runs, hasn't gone deep in 44 at-bats since Sept. 18. ... Kuroda missed the first round with a herniated disk in his neck. He already has sat out two months with an oblique strain and another three weeks after he was struck by a line drive. ... Torre's lineup juggling wasn't effective late in the season when the Dodgers' offense went cold. ... Torre was on Manuel's coaching staff at the All-Star game. --- Watch For - Closing Time. It looks as though Lidge has that nasty slider back. He saved the last two games of the division series, both times retiring Rockies cleanup batter Troy Tulowitzki with two on for the final out. Will he stay perfect against the Dodgers if Manuel keeps going to him? Lidge was 48 for 48 on save chances last year, including the postseason, but never came close to matching that dominance this season. - Will Manny Be Manny? Ramirez didn't produce in the final weeks of the regular season, but his swing started to come around against the Cardinals. In last year's NLCS against Philadelphia, he was 8 for 15 (.533) with 2 homers, 7 RBIs, 7 walks and 2 doubles. - Hollywood Hamels. The left-hander thrived under pressure last October, living up to his nickname and earning NLCS and World Series MVP honors. But he couldn't carry that success into 2009. Pitching with family on his mind, he allowed four runs in five innings of a Game 2 loss to Colorado. After being pulled for a pinch hitter, he rushed off to be with his wife, Heidi, who was in labor with the couple's first child. If Hamels can find his unflappable form again when the stakes are high, the Phillies have a good chance to repeat. - Left Is Right. With Kershaw and Wolf in the rotation, plus Kuo and Sherrill in the bullpen, the Dodgers might have enough quality left-handed arms to slow down a Philadelphia lineup loaded with left-handed power in Utley, Howard and Ibanez. One of Werth's important jobs is to offset lefties, and he does it well. He batted .302 with 14 homers in 149 at-bats against southpaws this season.