Wednesday, October 14, 2009

NLCS Preview - Phillies vs Dodgers

The Philadelphia Phillies were the only team in the final four that did not sweep their opponent in the LDS round. With a 3 game sweep of the Cardinals, the LA Dodgers will host the Phillies for Game 1 of the NLCS this Thursday at 8:07PM. Below is a preview of who to watch for and stats from their previous series/season..

Phillies NLDS Best & Worst

Cliff Lee - 1-0,1.10 ERA - 2 GS, 1 CG, 16.1 IP, 11H, 2ER. Cliff was outstanding in his first two starts of the post-season. If Madson doesn't allow three runs in the 8th of Game 4 Cliff has a great chance at being 2-0. He proved himself as the ace and was able to give a huge boost of confidence to the team and fans in Philly. Now we just need Cole to do the same and we're set..

Jayson Werth - 357 BA, 5H, 2HR, 1 3B, 4 RBI, game winning hit in game 4. Werth made every hit count in the NLDS and was responsible for the series winning hit in game 4. He hit 2 home runs and had a triple that would have been long gone had it not been for 25mph winds - at worst, had he not thought it was gone from the get-go and had his trot going, Werth would have had an inside the park home run.


J.A. Happ - 0-0, 9.00 ERA - 2G, 1GS, 3.o IP, 6 H, 3ER, 2BB - Happ was brought in for one batter in Game 2 and was injured after getting drilled in the leg. Next, Happ started Game 3 in freezing temperatures in Denver. Happ really struggled in this game, as we see in the stats above, but mostly with his command. I believe that a lot of Happ's struggles were actually because of the weather, but I guess that is what you get for wearing short sleeves in 29 degree weather. C'mon Jay..

Jimmy Rollins - 19 AB, 5 H, 1 2b, 5 K, 0 SB, 1R - Rollins played well in Game 4, but was a terrible lead-off hitter in the other games. We cannot expect to win the NLCS, and especially the World Series, with Rollins only scoring 1 time, not stealing a single bag, having one extra base hit and striking out 5 times. Rollins must get on base and must distract the pitchers by stealing bases. I've said all year, as Rollins goes the Phillies go.

Possible Pitching Match Ups

Serious Speculation here...
Game 1 - Cole Hamels vs. Randy Wolf - in LA
Game 2 - J.A. Happy vs. Clayton Kershaw - in LA
Game 3 - Cliff Lee vs. Vicente Padilla - in Philly
Game 4 - Pedro Martinez vs. Chad Billingsley - in Philly
  • To be honest, I am feeling very confident about these match ups. While Wolf and Padilla certainly are not the pitchers they were in the red pinstripes, they will never seem any different to me because of how terrible they were on our rosters.
  • Cole Hamels is an interesting player...he has struggled this year and in Game 2 of the NLDS. The one team Cole did not struggle against was LA where he pitched his best game of the season against them on June 4th pitching a complete game shut out.

  • Like I said earlier, I feel Happ's struggles were mostly because of the weather and should have no problem in LA if he gets the call in Game 2. While the Dodgers hit lefties much better than the Rockies, the fact that Happ has actually started recently makes me think he is a better choice then using Blanton or finally bringing Pedro into a game.
  • Lee, I am comfortable against anyone - Vicente Padilla, Roger Clemens, Babe Ruth, Cy Young...I don't care at this point. What Cliff has done for us this year/post season has blown me away.

  • Chad Billingsley could be slipped in somewhere in the first three games since he did not pitch in the NLDS and was very successful earlier this year against the Phils.
Who to Watch for on the Dodgers

James Loney - Against the Phils this year Loney has hit .393 BA, 11H, 2HR, 6RBI. These numbers are certainly up from his averages and up comparable to other teams this season.

Andre Ethier - Ethier's numbers have been ridiculous so far this post season.... .500BA, 5R, 2 2B, 2HR, 1.333 SLG, 1.905 OBP. Along with the NLDS series that Either had, he has performed very well against the Phillies this year including the June 6th game when he had 2 home runs, 1 being a walk-off in the 12th inning.

Chad Billingsley - If he pitches anything like he did against us earlier this year we're in trouble. Billingsley threw 7 innings, allowed only 3 hits, 1 ER and had 9Ks. I wouldn't expect these numbers since he hasn't pitched like this all year, but some pitchers perform better against certain teams... like Hamels, hopefully.


I have to believe that this series has 6 or 7 games written all over it. The Phillies & Dodgers have arguably been the two best teams in the NL all season and it seemed in June that this would be the NLCS match up again. With this said, both teams have showed a lot in the last NLDS series - the Dodgers swept a good St. Louis team and the Phillies battled all series, especially in game 4 against the Rockies. Both teams are hot and if either team lets up the other will surely capitalize on them and could quickly dominate the series.

Honestly, I do not see either team dominating this series, although I think the Phillies pitching has the potential to be far superior. I would be very surprised to see anything less than 6 games in this series unless Hamels and Lee were to both dominate their games... which is unlikely. I do think that the experience and consistency through the Phillies lineup will be the deciding factor, as it was in the NLDS.


Phillies in 6, Ryan Howard NLCS MVP

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