Postseason baseball has changed dramatically over the last several years.
Postseason baseball has changed dramatically over the last several years. In the past, normally the best team in each league would advance to the World Series and the favored team would win more often than not and only the occasional upset would occur. Presently, those days are more gone than the thought of one’s house increasing in value. In today’s modern playoff baseball it’s similar to most people’s outlook on life, “What have you done for me lately?”
The Los Angeles Dodgers took a calculated risk in trading for Manny Ramirez, hoping the talented, yet eccentric player could ignite a clubhouse that was as exciting as trip through a McDonald’s drive-thru. Ramirez proved to be the lightning rod, showing his teammates how to be a professional baseball player in terms of preparation, yet having fun and being just wacky enough he could fit right in at Venice Beach. The Dodgers so outplayed the Cubs, you would have thought they won 97 games during the regular season and are since September 6, are 22-8.
While the Chicago Cubs have spent a century not being a very good baseball team, the Philadelphia Phillies have not exactly been stuffing their trophy case with championship hardware. Since first becoming a big league franchise in 1883 (Chester Arthur was President) the Phillies went 97 years before being World Series champions in 1980 and the newest streak is up to a mere 27 years. Philadelphia was barely given credit for winning the NL East a year ago, winning it on the last day of the regular season thanks to the New York Mets collapse and being swept quickly in three games by Colorado. This season the Phillies had many peaks and valleys, yet at crunch time, they were tough. With the series win over Milwaukee, the Phils are on 16-4 run-out.
To win this series, Los Angeles needs to play to its tactical edges. With Rafael Furcal and Russell Martin on-base at the top of the lineup, Manny Ramirez creates fear as a RBI-machine. When Manny either gets a hit or is semi-intentionally walked, this gives James Loney and Andre Ethier a chance to finish off a big inning. The Dodgers bullpen has been as steady as Amy Winehouse, but reliever Jonathan Broxton as been anchor of late. After Cole Hamels, the Dodgers have the next three starters in the NLCS with starters Derek Lowe, Chad Billingsley and Hiroki Kuroda.
Having won 16 of 20, the Philadelphia offense receives a great deal of credit. The real secret to this winning stretch has been the pitching. In their last 20 games, the Phillies have allowed more than four runs just three times, keeping them in games the offense can win. Having home field advantage in the series, the Phils must show patience at the dish. The Dodgers and Philly bullpens have similar ERA’s at 3.34 and 3.21 respectively; however the Dodgers are nearly a full run higher on the road. Chase Utley and his teammates need to go deep into counts, piling up Dodgers pitch counts and takes hacks the L.A. bullpen.
StatFox Take – If good pitching stops good hitting, than the edge has to go to the Dodgers. Joe Torre can run out three starters all capable of winning each game and a case can be made in Lowe’s favor in the opener, being 40-20 vs. NL teams scoring 4.8 or more runs a game on the season. (Team’s Record) It’s difficult to gauge Dodgers mediocre road record on the season, as this is a different team. In order to win the series, Philadelphia is going to need two wins on the days Brett Myers and Jamie Moyer pitch and not sure that will happen. Home field has meant everything between these two teams, each sweeping a four game series this season. Slight edge to the Dodgers to advance.
Series odds from Sportbook.com: Dodgers -110, Phillies -110
Thursday October 9
L.A. Dodgers (Lowe) at Philadelphia (Hamels) 8:22 EDT
Friday October 10
L.A. Dodgers (Billingsley) at Philadelphia (Myers) 4:35 EDT
Saturday October 12
Philadelphia (Moyer) at L.A. Dodgers (Kuroda) 8:22 EDT
Sunday October 13
Philadelphia () at L.A. Dodgers () 8:22 EDT
Tuesday October 15
Philadelphia at L.A. Dodgers if necessary
Thursday October 17
L.A. Dodgers at Philadelphia if necessary
Friday October 18
L.A. Dodgers at Philadelphia if necessary
Offensive – National League
Runs scored Dodgers 13th Philadelphia 3rd
Home Runs Dodgers 13th Philadelphia 1st
Total Bases Dodgers 13th Philadelphia 3rd
Slugging Ptc. Dodgers 13th Philadelphia 2nd
Walks Dodgers 11th Philadelphia 5th
On base Ptc. Dodgers 6th Philadelphia 7th
Pitching & Defense
ERA Dodgers 1st Philadelphia 4th
Strikeouts Dodgers 5th Philadelphia 11th
Walks Dodgers 2nd Philadelphia 6th
On base Ptc. Dodgers 1st Philadelphia 6th
Putouts Dodgers 9th Philadelphia 7th
Errors Dodgers 10th Philadelphia 5th
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