MLB Playoff Preview: Dodgers vs. Phillies

By BASN Wire Services
Updated: October 8, 2008

NEW YORK — A look at the best-of-seven National League championship series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies.

Projected Lineups


SS Rafael Furcal (.357, 5 HRs, 16 RBIs in 143 at-bats; missed most of season with back injury), C Russell Martin (.280, 13, 69, 18 SB), LF Manny Ramirez (.396, 17, 53 in 53 games with Dodgers after July 31 trade from Boston; .332, 37, 121 overall), RF Andre Ethier (.305, 20, 77), 1B James Loney (.289, 13, 90), CF Matt Kemp (.290, 18, 76, 35 SB), 3B Casey Blake (.251, 10, 23 in 59 games with Dodgers after July 26 trade from Cleveland; .274, 21, 81 overall), 2B Blake DeWitt (.264, 9, 52).


SS Jimmy Rollins (.277, 11, 59, 76 runs, 47 SB), CF Shane Victorino (.293, 14, 58, 36 SB, 102 runs), 2B Chase Utley (.293, 33, 104, 113 runs), 1B Ryan Howard (.251, 48, 146, 104 runs, 199 strikeouts), LF Pat Burrell (.250, 33, 86), RF Jayson Werth (.273, 24, 67, 20 SB), 3B Pedro Feliz (.249, 14, 58), C Carlos Ruiz (.219, 4, 34) or Chris Coste (.263, 9, 36).

Projected Rotations


RH Derek Lowe (14-11, 3.24 ERA), RH Chad Billingsley (16-10, 3.14, 201 strikeouts), RH Hiroki Kuroda (9-10, 3.73), RH Greg Maddux (2-4, 5.09 in 7 starts with Dodgers after trade from San Diego; 8-13, 4.22 overall) or LH Clayton Kershaw (5-5, 4.26 in 22 games, 21 starts).


LH Cole Hamels (14-10, 3.09, 196 strikeouts), RH Brett Myers (10-13, 4.55), LH Jamie Moyer (16-7, 3.71), RH Joe Blanton (4-0, 4.20 with Phillies after July 17 trade from Oakland; 9-12, 4.69 overall).



RH Jonathan Broxton (3-5, 3.13, 14/16 saves), RH Takashi Saito (4-4, 2.49, 18/21 saves), LH Joe Beimel (5-1, 2.02), RH Cory Wade (2-1, 2.27), RH Chan Ho Park (4-4, 3.40).


RH Brad Lidge (2-0, 1.95, 41/41 saves), RH Ryan Madson (4-2, 3.05), LH J.C. Romero (4-4, 2.75), RH Chad Durbin (5-4, 2.87), RH Clay Condrey (3-4, 3.26), LH Scott Eyre (5-0, 4.21 with Phillies and Cubs; 3-0, 1.88 with Phillies).


This is the fourth 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. … Los Angeles finished a four-game sweep of the Phillies on Aug. 14 at Dodger Stadium. Philadelphia returned the favor at home 11 days later. … The Phillies outscored Los Angeles 43-27 during the season series. … Utley batted .355 with 2 homers against the Dodgers this year. Howard was 4-for-30 (.133) with 2 home runs and 11 strikeouts. … Furcal is 0-for-8 lifetime against Lidge. … Utley, Howard and Burrell have zero homers in 50 combined at-bats against Lowe. … Ramirez is 14-for-25 (.560) with a home run against Blanton and 18-for-53 (.340) with 10 homers versus Moyer – his most home runs against any pitcher. … Kuroda pitched well in two starts against the Phillies, going 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA. … Philadelphia led the NL with 214 HRs. The Dodgers hit 137. … Los Angeles led the NL with a 3.68 ERA. Playing in a hitter-friendly ballpark, the Phillies ranked fourth at 3.88. … The Phillies had the best stolen-base percentage (84.5) in the majors. They were 136-for-161.

What To Watch For

Fast Starts

Each team has a speedy shortstop batting leadoff who is coming off a strong division series. Back from injury, Furcal was 4-for-12 (.333) in the first round with 4 runs scored, 3 walks and 2 RBIs. Rollins went 6-for-16 (.375) against Milwaukee with 2 doubles and a leadoff homer in Game 4.

Manny Being Awesome

How will Philadelphia handle the sizzling Ramirez? The 12-time All-Star and 2004 World Series MVP went 8-for-13 with five RBIs in his first three games with the Dodgers, and that was just the beginning. He became a team leader almost immediately, adding life to a previously drab clubhouse, and he’s hustled all the way.

Lights Out Lidge

That mammoth homer Lidge allowed to Albert Pujols in the 2005 NLCS is a distant memory. Lidge was perfect in his first season in Philadelphia, helping the Phillies go 79-0 when leading after eight innings. He had a 1.10 ERA in save situations and a 0.61 ERA in his last 15 appearances. While Howard is the fans’ choice for MVP, Lidge was chosen the Phillies’ most valuable player by the local chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Young Gun or Old Hand?

When laying out his rotation for the first round, Torre would only go through the first three games, with Lowe, Billingsley and Kuroda getting starts. They all delivered. The 42-year-old Maddux, eighth on the career wins list with 355, pitched in relief during Game 1 against the Cubs. The 20-year-old Kershaw won his last three decisions during the regular season, but Torre put him in the bullpen against Chicago and didn’t use him. Kershaw could be a weapon in the NLCS, however, against Philadelphia’s lefty sluggers: Utley and Howard.

The Flyin’ Hawaiian

The underrated Victorino gets overlooked in a lineup filled with big names. But he’s a spark plug who can turn a game around with his bat, glove or speed. The switch-hitting center fielder is excellent defensively and has one of the strongest arms in the majors. His grand slam off Milwaukee ace CC Sabathia in Game 2 sent the Phillies on their way.